"Do you know," Peter asked "why swallows build
in the eaves of houses?
It is to listen to the stories."
James M. Barrie Peter Pan 1904

She loved the impromptu little dinner party less for itself than for the idea of the memory she was making - something to keep within her for a winter a long time from now. May had stopped saving for the future in the way people usually meant when they envisioned security. That future - the one founded on marriages and account balances and professional ladders - had floated off into nothingness. Now, she found faith in ephemera and comfort in uncertainty. Her concentration on transience made every experience keepsake.

So May sorted happily through Hannah's collection of flea market silverware and balanced tumblers on her wobbly garden table that was surrounded by stretchers and drawing-in-progress. There were leftover onion pies and sausages and a nice new bottle of port. The doorbell, laughter, too few chairs, many opinions. Wealth. As the meal was ending, May wandered to the room's far corner and looked out the window with a view of the city (holiday lights, ambulance lights, headlights, traffic lights all mixed together in a rain-washed abstraction). Such a long time coming, May thought. So much more precious for being over.