Last night was book club night. Oh how I love book club night. It is the most civilized event that I attend regularly, and for a few hours I can almost forget that I have a busy life, a messy house, and a list of things to do. And, while I don’t forget that I have children, I am certainly not thinking about them or attending to them.
It is a night just for me.
The book was Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, chosen by our gracious host G. But the book is almost secondary to the event for me. Last night I was the first one to arrive, and in fact I committed the worst faux pas – I arrived 15 minutes early. It was my first time at G’s house and I had overestimated how long it would take me to get there. This happens to me a lot because I absolutely hate to be late, and so I often arrive places ridiculously early. You may consider yourself warned if you will be inviting me over.
I considered driving around for a while so that I wouldn’t be quite so early, but since it was an unfamiliar neighbourhood, I just decided to go ahead and ring the doorbell. G forgave me when I volunteered to help him in the kitchen preparing some prosciutto-wrapped canteloupe.
G lives in a beautiful and mature neighbourhood in a great part of Ottawa. When I first walked into his house, I felt immediately at home. His house was bright, airy and had a very warm feeling to it. I settled in for a most enjoyable evening.
Others arrived soon after me. Our group is a punctual bunch with few if any stragglers most nights. I fit in with them all right. The format is a pot luck evening, with the host providing the main course, and the guests providing salads, appetizers, desserts, and of course, wine. The food is always varied and creative, and last night everything tasted particularly wonderful to me. We started with appetizers and wine, and the book discussion began. Soon we headed into G’s very lush back garden where the incense kept the bugs at bay and added to the feeling of relaxation. I realize now that I am seldom as relaxed as I am at book club.
The company is comfortable and respectful. People say smart and interesting things, and I always have a better insight into the book afterwards. The discussion moves all over the place, from the book, to the author’s life, to hot tubs and to holidays. There is almost no talk about work or kids or to-do lists.
I am one of the quieter ones at book club, and last night in particular I felt little need to say much at all. I just felt like being still and absorbing it all. When it was time to leave, I felt regret. I walked from the back yard into the beautifully appointed sunroom and longed to go sit in one of the inviting-looking chairs and stay a little longer.
Thank you G, and thank you fellow book club members for a most lovely evening, as always.