Sunday, August 31, 2003

They arrived with wedding dresses in their arms, and shopping bags full of white shoes with precipitous heels, and real jewels worth tens of thousands.

Just an ordinary dinner, chez Francis Strand.

I suggested that we each wear one of the dresses while we ate, but no one seemed to care for the idea, especially not the haute couturier, who had designed the dresses in question. And the husband and C., the fashion photographer, who had spent the day taking pictures of models wearing the dresses, seemed singularly disinterested in them.

It was 9 p.m. when we finally sat down to eat - A., the assistant director had been slaving away in the kitchen on a new recipe she'd found for salmon crusted in carrots and sesame seeds.

"You know what?" said O., the 16-year-old daughter of C., smiling invitingly at the haute couturier, "you should design the clothes for a costume drama."

And of course, you would star in it, said O.'s father.

"Well, yes," said O. "I am an actress and I have to think of these things."

We all laughed, and I thought about how at 42, I still have the same kinds of hopes and dreams for myself. Rather along the lines of writing a wildly successful novel. Or something like that. But looking around the table, it was hard to ignore the fact that the rest of the adults had already achieved success on a public scale.

I wonder how old I'll be before I give up?

Before they all left, somebody pulled out the tiara with real diamonds. It glittered wickedly. No one dared put it on his or her head.

The Swedish word for the day is äkta. It means authentic.

- by Francis S.

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