Just the other day, I was thinking about Othello, about what an ass he is to believe the things that Iago tells him. Whilst being aware that I’ve believed things based on much flimsier evidence… make that no evidence. The power of suggestion: it’s a dangerous thing.
This comes back to me during a discussion a colleague and I are having, about potential suitors.
‘What about…?’ She mouths a name.
She leans forward. ‘What about Tristan?’
‘Oh.’ I grin stupidly, and shake my head. ‘Yeah, I really like him, but…’
‘Does he have a girlfriend?’
‘I think so.’
I present the evidence. ‘What made you suggest him?’
‘Oh…. you just seem really similar.’
‘In what way?’
‘Well, you’re both lovely, and you seem to get on and, I dunno, you just seem really alike.’
‘Yeah… and – I do really like him, but yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s a girlfriend.’
The next day, Colleague and I are discussing holidays.
‘You need to book one,’ she says. ‘Do you like beaches?’
‘Ye-ah… yes, but…’
‘You prefer cold weather.’
I think for a moment. ‘If I went on holiday, I’d probably go walking in Scotland.’
‘Hmm.’ There’s a pause. ‘That’s what Tristan did.’
I give her a look. ‘Oh?’
Otherwise known as, tell me more.
‘Yeah, last year. I’m pretty sure it was Scotland.’
‘Oh, right. Well…’
I hear a step behind me and turn to see Tristan.
‘Hello! Wow,’ he says, looking round, ‘you’re all here!’
‘Yes,’ I say, ‘you’re spoilt.’
He laughs. ‘But it’s you,’ he looks at me, ‘who’s the one…’
‘I feel the same way!’
Joke – I would never say that. Rather, I turn a fetching shade of fuchsia, and look down at my keyboard, avoiding Colleague’s eye. There are shades of Matthew about the scene.
He goes on, ‘… the one who has to deal with the American office.’
I look up. ‘Yes.’
He needs to check something on my computer screen, which is lucky because it means I don’t have to look at him. It’s also lucky I’m not wearing red or there’d be a grave danger of my face starting to merge with my top.
This is ridiculous. For three months, I’ve worked with this guy and acted completely normal. Now, because of a colleague’s passing remark, I’ve lost the ability to speak to him without turning God-knows-what colour.
We joke about the onscreen corrections. Thankfully what I’m saying makes sense – no small miracle – but he must think I’m having a hot flash. I think I’m having a hot flash. I can feel sweat on my upper lip.
Eventually he leaves. I email Colleague.
‘This is all your fault! I went beetroot!’
I hear a snort from the other side of my monitor. Her reply comes back,
‘At least it matches your top.’
Which is dark purple in colour. It’s worse than I thought.