WASHINGTON — “Walter, dear, are you ready. Hmmm?”
Lois tried to hide the irritation in her voice. She wasn’t surprised by Walter’s tardiness but it grated nonetheless. Lois often joked that Walter would be late to his own funeral.
As she filled her tiny dress purse with the items she’d need for the party, Lois ticked off her husband’s attributes: Walter was dependable, if a little boring. A good provider, but occasionally forgetful. He was not conventionally handsome — and, to be honest, he’d let himself go a bit — but he had incredibly expressive eyes. Those eyes!
All in all, Lois was happy, or, if not happy, content.
But what was keeping him? There was a crashing sound from the other room, as if something had been knocked off a shelf. Oh Walter, Lois said to herself with a laugh, do you really have to be so Walterish?
She nonchalantly applied a bit of color to her mandibles, then sucked in her ovipositor and looked at herself in the mirror. She would have to ask Walter if this carapace made her butt look big.
“Walter, honey, we don’t want to be late,” Lois said, trying to keep the wheedling tone out of her voice. “The Petersons have already left. And the Finklesteins. Walter, if we don’t leave soon all the good places will be gone.”
“I’m coming. I’m coming. Just looking for my shirt studs.”
Shafts of sunlight were beginning to appear from overhead, piercing the inky darkness. The ground was warm, pleasantly so. It stirred in Lois dim memories of when she and Walter were young and carefree, 17 years earlier.
They were going to change the world. Walter was going to be an architect. She was going to do theater and had even sketched out an idea for an all-female production of “Equus” called “She-Quus.” They were going to live in the city.