A Fun-Filled Event
It was a splendid event. Mike was so excited Fq-event about it. He and Laura organized his fortieth birthday party with elan and panache. All his old school and university chums were invited. I was invited because he and I were at the University together. I liked the place they rented for hosting the event, a spot near Sorbonne in the Latin Quarters. The place was a microcosm of Parisian culture and ethos. Most important, it was compatible with birthday man, Mike’s intellectual bent of mind and tastes. The bash was wonderful. We made merry and regaled ourselves through the evening. The typically French fare, consisting of bouillabaisse, vol-au-vent, lamb quiche, pork au gratin, foie gras, and cassoulet along with truffles and other desserts, will never be forgotten by any of us who attended his birthday event. I even remember Mike becoming childishly inquisitive when he was opening his birthday presents. Mike received all sorts of birthday gifts, from books, pens, and watches to shirts, trousers, ties, bottles of champagne, and cash. I gave him Jean Christophe by Romain Rolland. He was meaning to purchase the novel for a long time. I knew of this fact from his wife, Laura, and so I bought and presented the mammoth novel to him. Laura took countless pictures of the party with her digital camera in order to immortalize the event.
An Event over Which We Have No Control
Even though we knew that it was inevitable, the event of Jacques’s death still managed to unnerve us. There was nothing that his wife, Marie, his mother, or I could do. The doctors had told us that it was all over the moment the tumors were detected in Jacques’s brain. If Jacques’s days were numbered, mine had assumed a pattern. Every morning I would go to office and every evening I would visit Jacques at the hospital before I returned home. There was no change to or respite from this routine. The sheer monotony of it made me feel like a machine, as if I would continue with this drudgery even after Jacques’s death. His mother, his wife and I were perpetually on tenterhooks, constantly in a state of tension, waiting for him to die. Yes, waiting for the event of his death because there was no chance at all for him to recover. Death would end his suffering, at all events. His was an advanced form of brain cancer. Operating to obliterate the tumors would be well nigh impossible – they were housed in the most vital parts of his brain. Jacques would become a vegetable in the event of an operation. One evening, en route to the hospital, I got a phone call from his mother who said that he was in the throes of death. I rushed to the hospital. The doctors said that Jacques was in his final moments. His mother had brought a priest who was to read out the sacrament and anoint Jacques to sanctify the event of his death. The doctors and nurses attending to Jacques looked somber right through the ritual. His mother and Marie were inconsolable. Since I was the only person who seemed composed, the doctors apprised me of procedures and formalities in the event of his death. Jacques remained alive for about an hour after I entered the hospital. His death was a very painful event for all of us.
A Household Event
It was my sister, Daniela’s marriage, a grand event. Daniela looked beautiful in her white, lacy, embroidered gown and veil, a bouquet of red and pink roses in her hand. Our young cousins were her bridesmaids. It was my mother’s and my duty to give her away. My brother-in-law, Rupert, was actually a friend of mine. It was through me that she had met him. My sister was working as a teaching assistant then and doing her Ph.D. And Rupert already had a cushy job in a multinational bank. The match seemed perfect. Both of them were head-over-heels in love with each other. My mother and I had decided to organize the occasion. We wanted to make it an impressive and memorable affair, a gala event that would be enjoyed by not only the bride and the groom but also by all the wedding guests. And that is exactly how it turned out! The wedding was followed by a sumptuous luncheon. Everyone raised a toast to the newly married couple. In the eventide, there was dancing and another scrumptious dinner. We invited all our friends and relatives and we urged Rupert to do the same. As a result, the reception hall was swarming with people, my mother and Rupert’s mother the most excited of them all. Most of the guests, who belonged to our mothers’ generation, showered blessings on the young couple and hoped that they would be invited again to celebrate the blessed event. Gifts filled one whole room, piling up almost to the ceiling. All of us took photographs of the event, even Daniela, in spite of her trailing bridal gown. When the young couple departed for their honeymoon, my mother, I, Rupert’s mother and brother, all had a quiet party amongst ourselves, in honor of the success of the wedding that had taken place. My mother urged me to get married and settle down and even promised me that she would throw as gorgeous a reception for me as she had thrown for Daniela. The whole event was too good to be true, like a dream that left us, families of the couple, pretty overwhelmed.
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