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She has always had too many friends, except for now, when she has left her old life behind for a Holy Grail of sorts--she looks grail up in the dictionary and finds that it is only a cup, and Holy Grail is only a legend, and she sighs and looks out the window of her waterfront condo-and now that she has this Holy Grail in the form of a man, she has far too few friends and the tradeoff, she knows, is nowhere near equal; still, she is lucky, when she returns for the holidays her oldest friend plans a party around her visit, invites dozens of other old friends and acquaintances, and she is flattered and dresses carefully in a black silk pantsuit, but because she is nervous, she and the Holy Grail have a drink in the hotel lobby bar, and then another and another, and she arrives at her party alone and two hours late, and kisses her hostess on the cheek while avoiding her eyes, then kisses her hostess' husband, and then much later, after several more drinks, the husband, who has been out of work for over a year and looks like a frightened poodle, hands her a resume and asks her to give it to the Holy Grail and she says, Of course, but ten days later, back in their waterfront condo, she drops it in the wastebasket-she doesn't know the husband well, cannot, after all, gauge his qualifications--and forgets about it until her emails to her oldest friend go unanswered.

©Stephanie Harrison, first published in Northwest Review