I only called on her because I happened to pass that way. All was fine as we sat on cushions on the floor, hippy-style, though we both worked in an office. Over a bottle of wine, we talked about art, poetry and music, as well as exchanging bits of office gossip.
It was fine until I said, ‘1956 was the most important year.’
She looked at me, waiting for me to go on.
‘It was the year of the Suez crisis; it was the year in which Elvis made his entrance onto the world stage.’
She frowned when I said this. Perhaps I was not being quite accurate.
‘Of course, he’d been in music for a couple of years already, but 1956 was the year in which he became truly famous. Besides, it was the year in which I was born,’ I said, raising a toast to my birth, which she didn’t return.
I could take a hint. I said goodbye and started to make my way across town. Coming around a corner into a street which was usually lined with hookers but was now deserted, I saw a light brown hamster sniffing from left to right. It didn’t seem at all startled by me and even let me pick it up. I wondered if it belonged to someone nearby or if I could take it home with me. Better, I thought, to leave it where it was, although I would only regret doing so when I got back to my empty room.
Illustration Rupert Loydell