“Darling, how nice to see you again!” A pale, blonde woman wafted over to me in a cloud of perfume that contrasted the earthy smell in the air. “How long have you been waiting?”
“Oh, not long,” I grimaced as her nails dug into my arm in an awkward hug. “I arrived by steamer just this morning.”
“Steamer? Darling, you must go by aeroplane. It’s the only way to travel around here; the swamps are terrible. And the wild animals!” she gasped. “What a horrible awakening! I thought they were exaggerating about the hippos and mosquitos. The thing that perplexes me altogether, though, are the people here. They don’t seem to mind! But at any rate, let’s see it.”
“What? Oh! The ring,” I remembered a moment late that she was now my mother-in-law. “I… well… it fell off… on the boat. It’s gone,” I finished, looking down at my sneakers.
“Pooh!—those were trifles, anyhow. I’ll make sure you get a nice one this time, maybe a really grand diamond or something. Not to worry!” she continued, not even skipping a beat.