In the kitchen, grinding garlic for the mashed potatoes for our dinner. My one roommate comes down, hovers behind me. I hate people hovering in the kitchen.
"You know your glass," she begins, "up there by your chair?"
London, February. Someone's birthday. Whose? I can't remember.
The gin parlour has a huge bouncer at the door. He is so big he eclipses the narrow entrance.
Asks how many we are. Four? Five? He lets us in.
Narrow wood paneled stairs, steep and winding in the way only English stairs seem to be able to. It opens to a short man standing in front of a hundred and fifty different bottles of gin. He takes our coats. Mandatory, because there's no room.
The couches are low and narrow. We are crushed in together. The room, an old apartment of a now forgotten West End actress from the 20's. Her picture, black and white with painted blush, looks down on us.
I think about her as I look around the room, at the bubbly glass sconces, the heavy velvet drapes, the patterned tin ceiling. I wonder how much of it is original, and how much is an affectation. It's impossible to tell.
A slim waitress with a thick Spanish accent brings us our drinks in tall, bubble-thin glasses with a strange lip.
"It's what they used to drink gin from," she explains. "Back in the twenties."
The gin, it is so good. But the company is better.
"Yeah, I know it," I say, cautiously.
"I just love those glasses we had that gin in," R says. "I called the parlour but they wouldn't tell me where they got them. So I dug around on the internet, and I found them!"
She pulls out several glasses.
"I could only get them from a restaurant supplier, and I had to buy twenty four. So you two get one each."
The three of us, R, and E, and I, we drink gin from them until we are well wobbly.
"Well..." my roommate says, and I know it's not good, but I make her spell it out.
"I don't have room for this in my suitcase," I say regretfully. My suitcase is so full. I'm afraid of smashing the delicate glass.
"I'll keep it here," says E. "You'll always know where it is."
I put it back with it's mate in her cupboard. I have to sit on my suitcase to get it to close.
"I knocked it over with my bum and I smashed it," she says. "I hope it wasn't precious?"
The package arrives three months later. It has had a rough ride through the post, so I am surprised and delighted to find the gin glass has survived. Everything, in fact, has survived, despite all four corners of the package being blown out.
I leave it in the cupboard for at least a week, too afraid to use it.
I am not impressed.
"Oh my god," she says. "It wasn't a hundred year old glass, was it?" It's not inconceivable for me to have something like that.
I have settled into my new job. My brain has quieted. I'm feeling good.
I decide to welcome my gin glass to Canada with a little red wine.
When I am finished, I put it on the top of my sewing box, next to my chair.
I tell my roommate about my gin glass.
How difficult it will be to replace. Who sent it to me.
She feels like shit.
I am angry.
She forgets about it the next day.
I look at apartment listings.