“I think the hamster is dying,” I whispered to Carlo over breakfast the other morning. He peered into the cage and nodded at me before glancing covertly at Skye to see if she had noticed. But she was lost in thought, off in her own little world of pink sparkley things and wasn’t paying attention to us at all.
When we all arrived home that evening the poor little creature was lying stiff and still in the corner of his cage. Skye didn’t notice and happily went to bed. I sat down on the sofa with a glass of wine and was just getting into a good book when Carlo poked his head out of the kitchen door,
“ would you like to participate in the funeral of our little friend?”
“ Oh, how sweet!” I replied, “are you going to take him up to the cemetery?” My overactive mind created a touching picture of him tenderly digging a tiny hole under the cypress tree in the cemetery where he had buried our cat two years ago.
“No, don’t be stupid! I’m just going to fling it out of the window.”
The image of the cemetery vanished, replaced by one of poor little hamster tumbling helplessly down the mountainside and coming to rest in the damp riverbed below.
“You can’t do that, its mean!” I said, amused and horrified at the same time.
“So, are you going to come in and watch the funeral or not?”
“No!” He pouted at me as I turned my back on him...
“You mean you’re going to leave me to do it all on my own?...Come on! Its got rigor mortis, come and see!”
I winced as I heard the fly-screen roll up, then there was a short silence followed by the sound of him washing his hands. He came out the kitchen and sat down next to me. “You can sort out the cage though,” he said.
I think that sometimes he forgets that not everybody is as comfortable with dead things as he is. He sometimes says things that no other woman would even dream of her partner saying. Take the other day for instance. We were on our way to lunch at the beach, walking along a beautiful pathway shaded with pine trees and prickly pears, overlooking the sparkling emerald sea below. I sighed at the beauty of it all and reached out to take his hand. But in that moment he was thinking of work, not even noticing the view.
He turned to me and said, “I must remember to water the ground at work otherwise in a few years I’ll be digging up a pile of mummies. Its been so dry this summer that they’ll all mummify.”
Oh, and Skye still hasn’t noticed that the hamster is gone.