Tuesday, 14 July 2015

When I was 10 years old I had a pet hamster called Fluffy.
One of the joys of owning a hamster in the 1990s was the exciting new range of hamster cages, with plastic domed compartments and expandable tube systems to collect and assemble.
Every weekend I would rearrange Fluffy’s cage into increasingly elaborate constructions resembling miniature moon bases or futuristic theme parks, before returning him to shuffle, disoriented, around his new environment.
One Saturday I decided to give Fluffy a “penthouse suite,” by placing his bedroom compartment at the very top of a long series of plastic tubes, and I watched him sleepily shuffle his way up to his nest.
I imagined him waking up in the morning and pressing his face to the plastic wall of the compartment, gazing out at a spectacular view across my bedroom, but instead when I woke I found his lifeless little body crumpled at the bottom of the tube.
I never quite forgave myself.
Published on The New York Times My Childhood Pet feature
NYTimes Illustration from last Sunday
How Therapists Mourn by Robin Weiss