Sunday, I went to Greenwich, wandered around the market. In the crowd I felt lonely and reached out for a familiar voice, called an old friend I’d last seen in that exact spot. She didn’t pick up, or rather the number wasn’t recognised.
It’s one of those cold sunny days. I wander down to the river, sit on a bench and read. Chilled by the wind I retreat to a cafe. The reviews have piqued my curiosity: ‘delicious coffee‘ and ‘charming staff’.
There’s only one seat free – literally a chair, near the till. The waiter grins in greeting. ‘Hello!’
He’s wearing linen trousers, a beautiful embroidered jacket in earthy, exotic tones, and on his head a chocolate brown fedora. I return his smile and take the offered seat, open my book. A table comes free; I move my things, pull out a notebook.
‘Are you writing?’ the man in the hat says in passing.
‘Ah, I thought you were – I saw you on your phone and wondered if that’s what you were doing!’
I glance at the abandoned notebook and laugh. ‘Yes, I seem to write more and more on here now!’
‘I wrote two plays on my phone!’ he says, also laughing.
‘Do you have anything online, a blog?’
He’s needed at the counter.
‘… I’ll give you something, before you leave.’
His tone is conspiratorial. I grin. ‘OK!’
I pull on my wrist-warmers, check the contents of my bag, twice. He looks over. A queue of customers fills the shop. I tear a scrap of paper off my notepad, write out the link to the blog. He pauses en route to a table.
‘Yes, but,’ I hold the paper out, ‘this is me!’
MBE to be precise.
He takes it. ‘Thank you!’
‘Nice to meet you!’
I step out onto the pavement. The sun is warm upon my face. Smiling, I bend my steps in the direction of the station.