As my guests arrived and we munched on the empanadas that seemed to have miraculously turned out, I realized how strong relationships have a way of surviving, even when one falls away. Those of us who knew her missed her, but no one mentioned her name.
My guests ranged in height from 5'0" to 6'6", but intellectually we were all quite even. We talked about favorite books, about H’s life in Brussels, about S’s years in Morocco, about A’s novel in progress. My husband was the perfect host. Even Jake was quite content as he lay under the table at our feet.
It was a vegetarian meal that left everyone feeling full, but not stuffed the way meat often does. The main dish, contributed by one of my guests, was a baked rigatoni casserole with pumpkin and cashews and other savory ingredients. In addition to the empanadas, I made an apsaragus-gruyere ravioli soup with lots of ginger and dill, a red and yellow beet salad, and java cake with fresh berries. We finished off the last white wine brought back from Italy and then started on a bottle of red.
As we lingered at the table, I realized we were seated in the shape of a star, a very strong structure. As much as I would have welcomed the sixth guest, I thoroughly enjoyed my star-shaped evening with wonderful, interesting friends.