With the tops of the trees around the house lost in fog, Michael and Nancy James prepared for the last party they would ever have, though they didn’t know it at the time.
In the planning of the party, the house was filled with an atmosphere of seriousness. Careful consideration was given to each decision, as if they unconsciously knew then that there wouldn’t be any more parties. Everything mattered all the more. They chose each dish, each appetizer with such care–quiches and salted on tiny rolls–and consulted each other obsessively about every little thing. They were united in this endeavor only. Nancy would follow Michael into the bathroom while he brushed his teeth and discuss her plans for decorating the tables, and they hashed and rehashed the options for hours until they were sure everything would look just right. Should they trust the weather? Should they set up tables with food outside or inside? Early May could be temperamental, and this spring was a cold, rainy one, but in these last few days the season seemed to finally be coming out of its depression
Taylor Larsen is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in fiction writing. Taylor currently teaches fiction writing and does manuscript consulting for The Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and Catapult. In the past, she has taught fiction writing at Columbia University (as part of CAT) as well as literature courses for Pace University.
Taylor is an author at Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster for her novel, Stranger, Father, Beloved, which released in July of 2016. She is a co-editor for the literary website, The Negatives. Her stories have appeared in Joyland and Windmill: The Hofstra Journal of Literature & Art. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, Bustle, Literary Hub, The Negatives, and Women Writers, Women’s Books. Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, Taylor currently resides with her husband north of NYC.