My Friday Fiction post this week is inspired by the prompt – Celebration – given by Sara from mumturnedmom.
Right, have you ordered the champagne? And the canapés? I want a glitz and glamour Hollywood Oscars theme. Make sure there’s a red carpet; must have the red carpet. Lots of gold shimmer – I’m talking table covers, napkins, drapes around the room.
We need a comedian to entertain the guests after dinner and before the band starts. Then a DJ for when the band are having a break.
Give me chocolate fountains, champagne fountain – the lot. I want people to be talking about this party long after I’m gone.
‘Libby, slow down will you. Don’t you think you’re going a bit over the top?’
‘I most certainly am not. This is the party of the century, Katie and I want it to be fabulous.’
‘Huh, well I think it’s ridiculous, you going to all this trouble.’
‘You did agree to be my party planner.’
‘I was thinking more afternoon tea at the Ritz, not all these… shenanigans.’
‘Stop being a bore, you will love it. Just think about that ball dress you’ve got in your wardrobe that’s been gathering dust. This is your big chance to wear it. Now where was I? Oh yes, the favours.’
‘Favours? It’s a birthday party not a wedding.’
‘I want my guests to feel special and to thank them for coming.’
‘This is going to cost a small fortune, your life savings, in fact.’
‘I have the money, Katie and it’s my choice how I spend it. Put caricaturist and magician down too.’
Libby smiled. It was all coming together nicely. She could just picture herself walking down the stairs, all eyes on her, like a movie star. It was something she had wanted to do all her life. Who cares if it was over the top. It was her birthday and she was going to celebrate in style.
Libby had planned the party to be on the day of her birthday. When that day arrived, she was nervous and excited all at the same time.
‘Is everything going according to plan, Katie?’
‘Yes, I had to hire a team to pull this one together. I have to admit, Libby, that I thought it was a ridiculous idea to do this, but now it’s all organised, I can’t help feeling that it was an inspired idea. You are going to love it. I’m going to get ready. I will see you there.’
Libby knew she was right to have relied on her sister to help. Even though she was younger and didn’t share Libby’s passions, Katie would never let her down. Libby went to her room and looked at the dress hanging on the outside of her wardrobe. It had been dry cleaned and looked good as new: as beautiful as the day she had first worn it for her engagement party. Libby chose to wear this dress because it held special memories for her – it marked the beginning of the best years of her life and it felt only fitting to wear it again.
She went downstairs, aware that her lift would soon arrive to take her to the party. As soon as she had put on her shoes and cloak, Libby heard the beep of the car horn. It was time to go. She picked up the envelope left on the table in the hall. Libby had been waiting to open it all day.
Seating herself in the back of the car, Libby looked at the envelope. She turned it over. ‘For the special attention of Mrs Elizabeth Turner’ it read. Inside were the words:
Dear Mrs Turner,
‘I am pleased to know that you are celebrating your 100th birthday. I send my congratulations and best wishes to you on such a special occasion.’
HRH Queen Elizabeth II
100 years. Libby never expected to reach this birthday. There had been so many times in her life that she thought her time was done and then when she lost her husband twenty years ago, Libby didn’t want to carry on. Somehow, though, it seemed that she was a survivor. Libby had vowed that if she ever did make it to 100, she would mark the occasion in style. The party would capture the essence of the person she once was – a celebration of her life. Libby was aware that she didn’t have long left on this earth. She felt the presence of her husband growing stronger every day. He was coming for her and Libby didn’t mind one bit. She was ready and she couldn’t wait to be with him.
For now, it was time to bow out in style. Her 100th birthday party. A party that all who attended would remember and talk about for years to come. This was how Libby wanted others to remember her: as a woman who loved life and all it had to offer.
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