That evening at the party, she felt a kind of ancient joy. The feeling, which had no discernable origin in the current arrangement of her own life, made her wonder about connections between genetics and historical events. She wondered whether a relation of hers had had a very good time long ago and if this person’s experience could account for the way she felt now.

She tried to describe this to a man at the party who wasn’t listening. Eldi, whose party it was, had made a cake with rainbow-coloured layers. She cut a slice to barter with the man, who was smoking a cigarette that she wanted to smoke. The cake and the cigarette fizzed in her mouth and in spite of the company, she felt that her cup was overflowing.