Being with Izzy was always like a tonic. The lunch had lifted Lillian’s spirits, dispelling any sense of gloom, and Tommy and Gabriel stayed in high spirits for the entire afternoon. In the early evening, Lillian dropped the boys off at the Rossi’s apartment, and went home to dress for her night out, surprised by how much she was looking forward to it.
From the back of her closet, she looked at her few good dresses, and decided on the simple black velvet with sheer polka dot netting around the neck and shoulders. It would be a nice change to be around a happy gathering, with dancing, music, and conversation. And how lovely it would be to see Lois and Sonny again. She had met them a few times and they were always good company.
As Lillian put on her lipstick and her pearl clip earrings, she tried to remember the last time she had gone out. There had been weddings and gatherings with the firemen’s families. But a dance? It had been years.
Izzy had invited her out many times, but Lillian always declined. She now paused to ask herself if there was some truth to Tommy’s assertion that it was her habit to say no to everything. Of course, she would have declined had Izzy not been between beaus. Tonight, there would be no awkwardness in being a single person among couples.
Izzy never had a shortage of admirers, and it was rare that she wasn’t keeping company with some man. But her affairs never lasted long, and Lillian had the impression that Izzy could take them or leave them. Izzy could be exacting and would settle for nothing less than her ideal.
And yet she always enjoyed herself, and loved dancing, loved bringing people together, and meeting new people. She was always the life of the party, infusing any gathering with a sense of fun and sparkle. Lillian had once asked her if she thought she would eventually find the right man, and Izzy had merely shrugged off the matter. “Either I’ll find him, or I won’t. Either way, I’m going to have myself a good time.” And she would, Lillian thought.
Lillian rode the subway into Manhattan and soon found the nightclub. After checking her coat, she looked out over the dance floor and spotted Izzy at a table with several other people.
Lillian made her way along the edge of the dance floor, and as she approached the table, she noticed that, as usual, Izzy was in the middle of all the action. She was telling some story that set them all laughing. Lillian noticed that several men from the nearby tables watched her with amusement, and desire, drawn by Izzy’s effervescence. Izzy was used to such attentions, and didn’t seem to notice.
There sat Izzy, dazzling as usual. She wore a light green satin dress that set off her auburn hair, and deeper green-gold crystals adorned her ears, neck, and wrist. Her quick movements and sudden bursts of laughter caused the faceted crystals to glint and sparkle – as if an inner fire burned within her and flashed out through her jewelry.
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