they stood before me, the tiny reminders, side by side to ensure that i make the right impression. sit up straight, cross your legs, don't forget to smile. eat, but don't eat too much. talk, but don't dominate the conversation. laugh, but jesusmaryjoseph don't get hysterical.
"hello, it's so nice to meet you," i said, a handshake here, a kiss on the cheek there. these were my father's colleagues and friends.
i sat down at a table in the corner of the dining room. my seat was a very deliberate choice--closest to the door, quickest to be served and right beside a girl who looked like she might be my age.
oddly, i felt more akin to the fiesty, older woman to my right who snuck out for a smoke and stole a cherry tomato off someone else's plate than i did to the pretty, young bank teller who was on vacation from the philippines.