The first to arrive were Coralie and Clarissa, cousins whose parents still resided in Agisma. Eda welcomed them to a table piled high with fruits, cheeses, and a spattering of tiny candles. Eda waved her arms about, partly to showcase her proud spread and partly to allow the heavy bangles beneath her uniform sleeves to ripple up and down her wrist; a reminder that something beautiful and rich was at her core. “Welcome to dinner, my dears!” Her large smile was caked in glossy red lipstick. Her eyes were lined in black and shaded to the brow with glittery violet hues. Make-up was not allowed in Isacio; however, some chose to use it anyway as the Knowledge Machines could not detect it.
Coralie and Clarissa offered crooked, insincere smiles to Eda and took their seats at the table. Eda, though not a young woman, was still younger than Coralie and Clarissa. Such a fact irritated them and hindered them from befriending her, though they enjoyed her company. Still hoping for a pleasant evening Eda continued to engage the cousins, “Such a lovely warm season we’ve had…don’t you agree? Why, I suppose we’re near to celebrating your birthdays, am I correct darlings?”
The cousins flinched as though Eda had smacked them outright. Their shared birthday was also a shared infliction for the ladies. Coralie took a wine glass between her fingers and twirled it toward Clarissa, “Yes, we will be celebrating you soon, my cousin.”
Clarissa tossed her eyes to the ceiling and shook her head, “It will be your birthday too, Coralie! You know that!”
Undeterred by Clarissa’s crossness, Coralie smoothed the wrinkles of her uniform pants and crossed her legs to the opposite side of Clarissa. “Yes, thank you for pointing that out, cousin. However, given you are older I assumed your birthday would be more important to recognize.”
Clarissa gasped and lunged toward Coralie who gazed out the window with immense coolness, “You stupid…! Our birthdays are the same day, the same hour even!”
Coralie smiled and turned toward Clarissa, resting her glass on the table. “I’m not the stupid one, you are! And you’re the old one too! Correct, we were born on the same day and the same hour. However, I was born on the western border, and you were born on the eastern border. The eastern border keeps time one hour ahead. So, stupid Clarissa, you are actually a full hour older than I. Eat that for dinner!”
Shaking with annoyance and flushed with embarrassment Clarissa grabbed a handful of grapes and plopped them into her mouth, several at a time. Eda, her gooey smile still upright, though her eyes danced with distaste stood and looked out the front window of the dining area. “Looks like Isa and Emory are finishing with their evening jog. Here they come now! Seems Emory is in the lead, oh never mind, Isa has just gained on him! Those funny lovers, always chasing after one another.”
Isa and Emory were recently married and both Seksumoans by blood. His family immigrated from North Seksumo and her...