CALLING CARDS AND MARIHUANA.
She wandered around the flat, looking at knick-knacks, reading the album sleeves and CD cases. A mishmash of classical music, jazz, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix. He was humming in the kitchen, calling out every so often to ask if she wanted something to eat or if she took milk with her coffee. When he came to the living room, she was sitting on the worn, brown, cord sofa. There were a couple of cigarette burns on the armrests and a one-legged Barbie doll she had pulled out of the sides was laying splayed out on one of the cushions.
They had met a few days earlier. She had been walking around the small museum where he was a curator. She was visiting the city and had time on her hands, so when he offered to show her round, she only slightly hesitated. They had met in the city centre the next day. He took her to an old Ferris wheel surrounded by bars, restaurants and fun fair rides. As the wheel rotated slowly, they had alternating views of church spires and gardens, the shopping district and the canals. All the time, they heard the merry laughter and talk from the people below. Right at the top, she felt dizzy from the excitement of being so high. He took her hand and she noticed that he had the same cute brown freckles on his hand as he had on his face.
They spent the few days she had left in the city, eating at Sushi bars and swimming in the river outside town. She watched him dive into the water; bright blue Speedos slicing green water. He promised to visit her soon and showed her his favourite parts of the city. There was the woodland that surrounded the city, the street markets and artists’ workshops. He didn’t talk much about the sister he lived with nor her husband and children who were away that summer.
When she returned from her travels, it was strange, but all she remembered of him were those freckles, the dark curly hair that gave way to modest sideburns, the telephone booth calling cards he had plastered all over the bathroom and the marihuana plants behind a screen in his room.