I looked at her parents more closely after that and decided; as much as I disliked her mother who seemed very full of herself (an older version of her daughter with heavier bosom and hips); I disliked her father more, who, for all his NRI talk and expensive clothes, could well be a wife beater. I never found out what she had done, and whether her Dad did slap her mother.
The other guests were very interesting as well, and taken together would have been great fodder for an Agatha Christie novel:
15 strangers stranded in a hill-top cottage. They all have their secrets. But one has the most dangerous secret of all, he has killed before and will strike again.
The white-mustachioed, red-nosed patriarch, whose word was law. His mild-mannered son and quick-witted, fun-loving daughter in law. The sad-eyed single mother. Three enormously tall expatriates. The wife beater. His trophy wife. His annoyingly affected child. The witty writer who is destined to solve a 200 year-old mystery and her doting husband.
A story set against the backdrop of the wild hills where the wispy mist rises of an evening, and where the crackling fires within doors lend an impression of safety to the unsuspecting families. A simple game of dumb charades turns into a riveting and deadly drama of human passions.
Of course none of that happened. No shot rang out in the night, no one got smothered in their sleep, the five year old didn’t take a hatchet to the 10 year-old boy who spurned her. We all played dumb charades politely and tried not to let on that we hadn’t caught each other’s names during the round of introductions. One wondered whether the cheese and corn balls ordered during the game would be charged to one’s own room or the other family’s.
Before leaving, the hearty patriarch with a volatile temper shook my husband’s hand (he’s always more popular at these places, people find my brooding artistic temperament intimidating) and said, “We’ll meet again some day, some where.”
It sounded very profound, and reinforced my view that these random meetings change our lives, even if in the tiniest, most infinitesimal ways.
It remains to be seen how, but it’s always more interesting to think that way.
(Coming up: What we ate, and how awful tourists are.)