Danielle lived in a block of apartments on her own. There were about forty apartments all together. It was Christmas Eve and Danielle had planned to catch a plane and fly to her parent’s home for Christmas. Bad weather cancelled all flights.
She was wondering what to do and thought she had better get to the supermarket to buy something to celebrate with – a bottle of wine and a few slices of something nice. She had just set out in the corridor when she bumped into Bernard.
“I thought you were going home for Christmas,” he said.
“Same here,” said Bernard. “Look, why don’t we share the Christmas meal? In fact, why don’t we leave a note at every apartment door saying if you’re alone this Christmas bring you food to my apartment and we’ll all celebrate together.”
It was an excellent idea. Danielle printed off a pile of invitations and she and Bernard went around the apartment building. They planned what to do if a number turned up on Christmas day. So far they have had a response from eleven people. If it’s anymore they’ll be spilling the party out into the corridor.
Years ago, when he was just a teen, Vivian thought that 67 was a reasonably old age. He was born on the 1st of January 1950. That meant that the final digit of his age was the same as the year’s final digit; 1959 he was 9, 1969 he was 19, and so on. The year was 2017, and Vivian was 67.
Now that he’d reached the age of 67, Vivian didn’t think that was old at all. He’d always presumed, for no reason, that he’d die aged 67. And now it was a quarter to midnight on the last day of 2017.
What a relief it will be when midnight comes, thought Vivian. It was now ten minutes to midnight.
Vivian was feeling stressed. He tried not to look at the clock. He played a computer game to takes his mind off things. He had sweaty palms.
It was now five minutes to midnight. He turned the television on to watch… anything.