The Uninvited Guest
Someone crashed our dinner party.
My wife and I and the couple we invited stared at the stranger as we all sat in the living room, sipping coffee or tea. Something about him looked familiar. He looked as if he had been to my house before. Maybe that’s why no one questioned him when he walked in the front door in his nondescript clothes and unremarkable appearance. He just sat down, smiled, was polite, and hardly said a word.
Or at least that was my perception of the stranger. My guests however, reacted differently.
Neighbor Phil took a big sniff and smiled when the stranger walked in. Phil claimed the character was as loud as his over-the-top Hawaiian shirt and plaid pants. Later, Phil said he and the stranger were trading quips all evening. I didn’t see or hear any of that.
However, Phil’s wife, Marlene, thought the stranger was repulsive. She put her hand over her nose and recoiled when the man walked into the room. Later she told us that the man smelled like he hadn’t taken a bath in a while, and his dirty purple shirt had grease stains. And rude! Marlene said that when she reached to stab a goat-cheese appetizer with a toothpick, the stranger knocked her hand out of the way and grabbed three pieces with his fingers. And there was dirt under his fingernails.
My wife smiled at the man, because she thought he was my friend. Later, though, she told me something was unsettling about him. Who comes to a casual dinner party in a three-piece suit, she reasoned, unless they are going to steal something?
I do not understand what my guests saw in the stranger. My wife keeps telling me it’s because I have no sense of smell.