“I am no Mrs. Dalloway for sure” smiled bitterly Annamari. Why did she offered to host the party in the first place, I have no idea. She does not like Nim. Maybe she did it for Mona, not to impress her, but to come out as her equal, a partner. Mona , she is good at this, throwing parties. She was raised in a family where a woman was defined by her ability to entertain, by her taste, by her knowledge of foreign languages. A woman should know how to manipulate men and servants to attain her goals, or her husband's. Annamari’s family was a lot simpler; I imagine most parties were for weddings and baptisms.
It had been Claire’s wish to have a party before she left with her husband back to Nimes. She wanted to tell us good-bye, but she had no longer a place suitable for a party, her rooms engulfed by half packed books and clothes and stuff. Claire wanted to say good-bye to all of us, but mostly to Nim, for she had not seen him lately, since he got sicker and stopped going out of the house. Annamari jumped in: “I’ll do it. We’ll have the party at my place”. I do not think it took her more than a few minutes to realize that she trapped herself in an absurd challenge: she , Mona’s favorite, Mona’s apprentice, had to throw a party for a man that she did not like and fail to impress the friend she cherished, because she was totally “gauche” when it came to organizing a party. She will embarrass herself in front of us for she knew that the party was Claire’s wish, but was meant for Nim, and we all knew that Mona was better than Clarissa Dalloway could have ever been.
She had to push the date around, so Nim could come, and we all ended up choosing the worst time for her: she will have to rush back from work and prepare the party, since Claire chose one the few Saturdays when she had to work. It made her freak-out over each detail, each dish, the quality of ingredients…And, in the end, Nim did not show up.” He was not quite well, he sends his regrets” mutters Yuri entering the door alone. And I see her, behind the kitchen counter, breaking down the peppers in anger while still preparing the salad she did not have the time to finish before we came in.
We all like Nim, but her. I couldn’t quite understand why she does not like him. He was always nice to her, but she avoided his company from the start. Maybe it is because she likes people such as Mona and Yuri: accomplished, satisfied with themselves, useful, and Nim in his awkwardness makes her uncomfortable. She finds no use for his company, for it is not a thing she could learn from him other than the bitterness of failure, the unspoken sadness of being the inadequate one among us. She seems unable to understand that his kindness is twice more valuable, for it comes from a glass that is half empty. She likes to keep her cup full.