Marcie had been married to a politician for twenty-five years. At their anniversary dinner, he let her know he was filing for divorce. Since they had just been through a rigorous campaign, she wasn’t prepared for this announcement especially since they were supposed to be celebrating their anniversary.
She was adapting to her new life change when she decided to go to a function, which she had previously set up on her calendar before the separation was announced in the newspaper.
She had defiant times. She had been really looking forward to going to the charity dinner that benefited the humane society. Quite a few of Columbus restaurants participated, she had committed to being a celebrity waiter. Marcie had raised one of the highest totals for this organization in the past. Two weeks after the announcement, the evening of the dinner arrived. Marcie had found the perfect cobalt blue dress. The blue set off her ash blonde hair and darkened her eyes to smoky blue. She hoped her heels and the slimming dress were the reason people were looking her way as she strode into the atrium looking for the Check-in desk. Marcie waved and smiled when she saw chairperson Miriam Weston. Miriam looked surprised to see her, but smiled back.
Miriam was on the A-list of Columbus society. She was raised in the prestigious Allerton family known for their real estate holdings.. Her husband was practically picked out for her so that they would together carry on family traditions. Her husband Justin Weston had a family that was well-known in hotels and resorts in the hospitality industry. She was the stereotypical Junior League type with a Brown University pedigree. “Marcie, dear. It is so good to see you. And you look so good! We weren’t sure. I mean, I …let me go with you to the Check-in desk. I haven’t checked to make sure everything is in place yet.”
Of course it was. This occasion under Miriam’s expert direction always ran smoothly. She always anticipated problems and met them before they could happen.
They walked quickly over to the table. Two ladies sat behind the table decorated with stark white tablecloths and stunning white star lilies in cobalt blue globes. The ladies each had a cobalt blue and silver box in front of them. Even though they looked up from the boxes and smiled as Marcie and Mariam approached, they were nervously looking through the name cards contained in the boxes.
“Is there a problem ladies?” Miriam said as they stepped up to the table.
“Miriam, we can’t locate Mrs. Reynolds name tag. Um, I am sure there has been an oversight. Though I can’t imagine why we hadn’t caught it.”
Marcie was embarrassed. She could feel her face turning red and her temperature rising. Trying to remain calm, she was hoping she was not perspiring through her silk dress. Every year the name tags of the celebrity waiters were made to compliment the theme or color scheme. So she knew one could not be just made.
“Well, Marcie, we know how people make mistakes or …whatever. “ Miriam put her hand by her waist and steered her toward the celebrity waiter accessory table. “ You know everyone knows you so they will assume you didn’t want to wear a name tag. You know some of our celebs don’t like to.” She placed the cobalt blue apron over Marcie’s head carefully to protect her hair and turned her around to tie it around her waist. Marcie looked down to see the Humane Society Logo in white and silver on the pocket. “Good you didn’t bring a purse in. You know some waiters insist on bring one and then they don’t want to lock it up in the safe. They want to keep them close to them.”
Marcie knew Miriam was filling in the embarrassing quiet. She appreciated her kindness. She wanted to be here. She loved this event. Now she didn’t have a name tag and felt a bit like an interloper. After placing her by the desserts, Miriam left her on her own so she could continue getting everyone else to their places. Marcie looked up and around at the decorations surrounding her. The room was beautiful. The white patterned ceiling perfected the large stripping of the cobalt and silver intertwined above their heads . At the center of each huge white round table was a bouquet of the star lilies. The white place setting highlighted on each side with shiny silverware made each table uniformly beautiful. “Excuse me,” The poor chef who had walked up behind her jumped when she did. They both laughed as she turned to him. “ I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“No that is okay, I was just in my own little world. Are you the pastry chef?”
“Yes, I am. I am from Smith and Wollensky’s from over at Easton.”
“ Oh yes!”
“Well, why don’t I acquaint you with our choices here so if there are questions you can help our guests.”
After the chef was done explaining and he seemed satisfied that she could answer questions sufficiently, he left to check on the extra supplies in the cooling area set up for the event. Marcie turned her head and noticed Sue Bordon, one of the ladies that she knew from the Garden Center. Marcie thought usually she would come over to greet me. I’m just being silly. She just doesn’t see me. Marcie tried to catch her eye as she talked, but couldn’t seem to catch her attention. After a few minutes, Marcie came around the table and walked to where Sue and another lady were standing. As Marcie approached them, Sue and the other lady moved away. Marcie, not wanting to move too far from her assigned table, stopped and watched the ladies walk quickly toward the other side of the huge atrium.
“Hey, I have not seen you in ages!” Confused Marcie turned to find her old friend from a news station Kim Wolford. Marcie had known Kim for thirty years. Starting at a news station in town as writer/researchers, they had worked their way up to production positions. When Marcie left the station, Kim had stayed and had earned her way up to executive News producer/Community Relations Director.
“It is so good to see you,” Marcie said, even to her it seemed a little too overstated.
“Why are they not making you wear one of these?” Kim pointed to the shiny cat name tag on her apron. “Oh, that’s right the wife of doesn’t have to. She is too well known.” At Marcie’s silence, she gasped as she remembered. “Marcie, I am so sorry. I had a brain fart. Really. I am so sorry.”
“It is okay Kim. Really. I’m still adjusting to it myself.” She decided not to go into the name tag thing. “Good thing these aprons aren’t any longer.” Marcie smiled down at her. Kim was maybe 5’2” and stocky. Her frame and weight plus Kim’s imperious style gave people the impression she was used to being in charge. The one size fit all apron on Marcie was down below her knees, on Kim it went to mid calf. Both looking down at the hem, she said, “Well, you know what I’ve always said.”
“Yes, I know ‘great things come in small packages’?”
“God no. If I was only six feet tall, I’d be be perfect weight.” Their ease with each other always returned when they were together. Kim looked directly at Marcie, her eyes scanning her face. “ So how are you doing?”
Again, Marcie was silent.
Just then, some people came through asking them about the desserts that were in front of them. At least for the time being Marcie was saved from answering Kim.
They were on half-hour shifts so their next job was to visit with people at the tables, pour water and let the professional waiters know if anyone needed anything. They were also supposed to take any silent auction bids from the participants at the tables. Adding to the excitement of the evening, the room was surrounded by glittering baskets filled with theater tickets, vacation opportunities, specialties from each restaurant accompanied by gift certificates. Each basket had a name and the current bid was broadcast on a running light board above the stage where the band was playing. No DJ for this crowd.
For the most part, Marcie was too busy to really engage in long conversations with anyone. They were just about ready to go on a rest break where they could eat themselves when John Manigan, the local talk jockey, was sitting with his wife and friends. “Hey Marcie!”
“Hi John, Hi Celia. How have you been?”
“See ya got rid of the old man now that he’s won office again. Bet that will help you with the alimony settlement!”
Celia hushed her husband. The husbands and wives who were sitting with them looked at each other and then down at their plates. One woman got up and threw her napkin down as she left. Marcie froze and foolishly stood holding the water pitcher as if there was a glass under it. Kim saved her. “Come on Marcie. I think our break just started.”