Friends of the Academy

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I bend my steps in the direction of the RA. It’s Toby’s choice of venue; he’s a Friend of the Academy.

We meet in the courtyard and walk towards the entrance.

‘Are you a Friend?’ he says, on the threshold.

My answer is swallowed in the revolving doors.

Over coffee, we discuss the dating game. There’s a pause. Toby says,

‘So, for example, I went on a date with someone on Wednesday…’

I wait for the stomach flip; it doesn’t come.

‘…. and she texted this morning to say she’d had a good time.  Was she just being polite?’ 

I smile. ‘No, she’s keen. Did you reply?’

‘Yes, I said I’d like to see her again.’

‘That’ll be music to her ears.’

Take it from someone who knows.

We continue on the subject for a little while. I haven’t seen him like this before: vulnerable, anxious, seeking reassurance. We chat for another hour or so.

It’s time to leave; we hug.

‘Let me know what happens with la femme!’

He gives me a look. ‘Hmmm.’

I laugh. ‘Good colour by the way,’ I say, gesturing towards his shirt. ‘Vast improvement on beige.’


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