Six girls sit around a table swimming in

the silky fabrics of their mothers' dresses,

wrapping long strings of pearls around

their necks, and wobbling on heels. They

stifle giggles as they discuss the weather

in fake accents and sip soda from tea cups

with raised pinkies. They plan their next

outing to the opera and summer trips to France.

They compliment each other on the flakiness

of the pastry crusts and other delicacies

while the garbage can hides the boxes in which

they were bought. They try not to scratch at

the make up they caked on their faces or smudge

the lipstick messily applied to their lips. The girls

politely chat about everything from fancy parasols

to the secret to the perfect cup of tea. Everything

except the exams they should be studying for.