“By the River Cousin”
in Death by Pad Thai and Other Unforgettable Meals ed. by Douglas Bauer.
Claire Messud doesn’t remember the details of the food served (it was good) but she does recall with warmth the harmonious intercourse of the guests.
We sat at a table beneath an old and spreading tree at the river’s edge. The cloth was pristine, the crystal sparkling, but the birds twittered over our heads and the burble of the water ran constant at our backs. As we ate, the night slowly fell around us, and our features were melted, simplified, in the flickering candlelight: we became kinder, easier, more benevolent. Delighted by the novelty and grace of it all, we simply, unselfconsciously enjoyed ourselves together. The river, in the dark, sounded louder, our voices softer, more mellifluous. The evening air had not a hint of chill, nor was it too warm. It did not blow, but breathed, like an intimate. It was as you would wish a summer evening air.
Much of this description is based on atmospherics but the thrust is the gentle accord of the party. Sensuality and sociability both contributing to communal pleasure.
And so for day 366