Short Story Sunday is held each week over at Ready When You Are, C.B I try to post about a short sory most weeks but seem to have missed several weeks on a row now.
This week's short story is taken from a gorgeous collection called The Secrets of the Fire King by Kim Edwards, and this is the sixth story in the collection.
Joyce has lived in the area for 30 years, 30 years of socialising with the upper classes and finally last year she felt fullt accepted when she was invited to the Sultan's birthday party. His birthday looms again, just weeks away and she waits eagerly for the invitation to arrive. As the day draws nearer she starts to worry, if she leaves it too late she won't have time to travel abroad to find an outfit as dashing as the golden dress she wore last year.
When she invites one of the new wifes to afternoon tea, a sign of kindness, she is suddenly awaken to how much she still doesn't fit in. The new wife can speak the locals language, knows all the rules of etiquette - like not to wear the color gold as it is the Sultan's colour. She also teaches the Sultan's daughter, often has tea with his wife and most imporantantly recieved her invitation to the Sultan's birthday party days before.
An invitation to tea that Joyce wishes she hadn't made.