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THE SOUTHAMPTON HUNDREDS

42

In the Christmas holidays I visit Ari at home. Just as I’m leaving Ari thrusts a small something wrapped in tissue at me. I open it on the train. Two matchbox sized sheets of silver, hinged at one corner, thin sheets of bone between them: an Edwardian dance card, on which is written in pencil Lovers come and lovers go / but friends are hard to find / Yes I can count all mine / on one finger.
It makes me smile, and something else, something tectonic, happens in my chest. I know I’m not supposed to mention it, so I never do.