So I’m there minding my own business in the communal kitchen at work, taking a 5 minute break to make a cup of green tea with lemon no less, when a girl walks in and I stop dead.
My heart beats faster as I rack my memory back to my university days. I know her.
Well I knew her, just briefly for a night when her and my best mate Jim enjoyed a furious game of Twister (if you catch my drift), and her best mate and I also got to know each (but rather than playing Twister, we opted for what turned out to be a rather enthralling game of Scrabble. I’m not that kind of boy. Honest.)
Blimey – what are the odds of that?
Now – what do I do? I guess I should say hello.
‘Hello‘. There I said it, and in a ‘fancy meeting you here’ type way.
‘Hi‘. Came the flat response after an awkward pause.
Not ‘oh – hi’ in a coy, embarrassed kind of way, just ‘Hi‘.
Hmm. I know my hair is different from 15 years ago, but not that different.
Ah hang on – she’s playing it cool to avoid any embarrassment. Very professional.
Maybe I should have left it there but I was committed now.
I lent against the wall with one arm to show that I too was cool.
‘So…er, how long have you worked here then?’ Crikey that was lame.
‘Oh good.‘ Oh god. ‘2 years me…Funny that we’ve not bumped into each other before…‘
Oh she was good. Very calm and not letting her emotions and excitement get the better of her.
‘Do you still see any of your old uni friends?‘ I ask, unable to remember her or her scrabble playing friends name.
‘Not really. Erm – Do you?‘
There it was, the acknowledgement that she knew exactly who I was referring to, and her very cool, professional, indirect way of asking about my best mate Jim.
‘Funny you should ask‘ I said ‘I actually got an email from a certain someone the other day. He’s married now.‘ I added a wink and a tap on my nose at the end of that one to note my understanding of her discreet probing, whilst not letting on to the other 2 people in the kitchen.
This time she feigned confusion. It was really quite convincing.
‘That’s nice.‘ She said as she started making her way to the door. The innocent bystanders would be forgiven for thinking that we had never met before, that’s how good she was, but we both knew different.
I hoped I hadn’t upset her with this news. She hadn’t even made her tea yet. If anything she seemed a little bemused. I think maybe she was rattled, but again refused to allow that to be shown. I admired her for that.
‘Yeah – lives in Rotherham now, near his parents.‘ I added.
‘I really need to get back for a meeting‘ she said as she opened the door and started to step out.
She was drawing the conversation to a close, without actually saying that she was drawing the conversation to a close. Man – she is one smart cookie. I liked her style. I’m starting to see why Jim fancied her.
That’s when I had the light bulb moment – Sarah, yes the Twister girl was definitely called Sarah, ha now I can blow her cover once and for all. I can break her icy cool stance, get her to drop her guard and relax a little, after all her secret was safe with me.
‘OK, see you Sarah‘ I said with a knowing smile, waiting to see if she remembered my name. All in all I was quite pleased with my smug little self.
I heard ‘Goodbye‘ in a ‘thank god that’s over kind of way’ as the door closed behind her, followed by ‘and actually it’s Polly‘.
What? Wait…no … but… shit….
To be continued…