Second Impressions

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My manner of greeting is awkward, verging on reluctant.  I’m keen to avoid a repeat of our conversation last Christmas:

‘Are you living in London at the minute?’


I wait.  Nothing.



There’s a pause, in which I resist the urge to do a Lizzy Bennet and point out that it’s his turn to say something.  Instead I ask,

‘Do you like it there?’

‘Yes.’  Another pause.  ‘What about you?’

‘Yep – Earl’s Court.’

It would be difficult to say which of us was more relieved when the dance, and the conversation, came to an end.  So on encountering him a second time I had misgivings.

‘I can’t remember what it is that you do?’  I say.

‘Finance stuff.’

‘Ah.’  That explains a lot.  ‘Do – err – do you have exams coming up?’

He looks surprised.  ‘No.’

‘Oh, I just thought you might.’ 

This is fun.

‘I’m guessing you don’t have admin exams…?’ he asks.

‘No.  I wonder what they’d consist of?  Filing techniques, perhaps?’ 

He laughs and suggests some other possible modules, before asking after my brother.

‘He’s just had exams; and they went well, so we were really pleased.  As in, my parents and I, not the royal ‘we’.’

‘Well, I’m sure the Queen was pleased.’

Next thing I know, he’ll be inviting my uncle to fish the trout stream on his estate… in Islington.  I must stop reading Austen.


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