Gwen had lost her glasses. She couldn’t read without them. She couldn’t see without them. She couldn’t find her spare pair.
The problem was compounded by the fact that visitors were coming for dinner. The visitors were virtual strangers. They had met at the airport when their luggage got muddled. They talked. The visiting couple were from somewhere else. Gwen and her husband spontaneously invited them to dinner. It was a welcoming thing to do. Perhaps they shouldn’t have invited them. Gwen and her husband had a very modest house, and a very modest income.
Gwen had planned the meal in detail and bought all the ingredients. Now she couldn’t read the recipes or see clearly enough to cook. The guests would have to eat what she could blindly make. She hoped they weren’t snobs.
Why not go the whole hog? thought Gwen. We can sit out on the deck on the wooden benches and eat. She prepared to cook sausages, mashed potatoes and peas, with a good splash of tomato sauce. For dessert, she opened a can of fruit salad. They could have it with ice-cream. It was all very plain. All very unimpressive.
Her husband arrived home just prior to the arrival of the guests. Gwen informed him. He was beside himself with anxiety. There’s nothing now we can do about it, he said. We should have planned a barbeque instead.
The visiting couple arrived by taxi. Gwen was hasty in her explanation of the pending meal’s mediocrity. They went out on the deck. They had a drink or two. The late sun’s rays turned the garden flowers into almost stars. A bird on the railing sang its heart out. They ate their sausages with mashed potato and peas, with lashings of tomato sauce. They chatted away. They had their fruit salad and ice-cream. They chatted away; their children were of the same age. A gigantic full moon rose. They chatted away; why not, in the fall, stay with us in our sommerhus in Denmark? Coffee and liquors anyone?
It was three in the morning. We’ve overstayed, they said, but quite the most enjoyable evening in years. Too late, too tired, to go back to the hotel, they slept in the spare bedroom.
Gwen and her husband had found new and lovely friends. They didn’t know that their newfound friends were the richest family in North America.