The flat I rented in those days had a layout designed by a very lazy architect. The single bedroom led straight into the kitchen, and I had to stoop to avoid the ceiling light.
This meant that when I staggered through the next morning, looking for coffee and smelling stale dough, I saw the icicle straight away. At five foot tall, and the colour of milky ice from the back of the fridge, it was hard to miss.
The structure shot out the middle of the pizza like an arrow through a target. Underneath the table was nothing but empty space, and a takeaway wrapper from a few days before. I reached underneath, and knocked on the exact point the icicle should be sitting on the wood. My knuckles remained lukewarm.
If it wasn’t for the beige piece of plastic sticking out of one side of the rapidly melting dune, I may have accepted the icicle as some kind of environmental freak, a twist in that happens when a room cools overnight. The heating had not been for three days after all.
When the hearing aid slipped from the ice, and onto the cooling dough, my sister’s ex-boyfriend’s story rang through my mind.
I wouldn’t pick up a knife from a murder scene. I wouldn’t scoop nuclear waste from a crashed lorry. But I examined the hearing aid with otorhinolaryngological calm. Perhaps a homeowner or a mother of two might have called the police.
I had no workplace to go to, no pressing meetings or deadlines to meet. The only things that constituted a plan were three hours of game shows, and a trip to bathroom.
I slipped the device onto my ear.