I look at the screen and frown. It’s late, I’m still recovering from drinking my body weight in wine and the prospect of reading an industry report on processed cheese isn’t all that appealing.
One of the bridesmaids points him out to me as the only straight, single man there. I look him over, the guy from Dubai, and decide I’m not in the mood for rejection.
Then dinner happens. Pierre to my left is a familiar face from university. He’s charming, French and so not interested. At one point I look over at Catherine.
‘Anything?’ I mouth, nodding in Pierre’s direction.
She could at least pretend.
Catherine and I head in the direction of the bar with a view to asking about taxis.
‘Or,’ I say, putting a hand on her arm, ‘I could try talking to the guy from Dubai?’
‘Because….’ She sighs. ‘Will it make you happy?’
‘Oh! Thank you!’ I take one of the G&Ts winging its way to the table via Dubai. ‘You’re Erik, right?’
He confirms his name, asks mine.
‘I’ll rise,’ I say, getting up, ‘in the words of Maya Angelou.’
It’s not my first gin of the night.
‘You’re tall,’ he says.
‘So are you.’
We talk. I discover he loves oysters, Futurist sculpture and Egon Schiele and that he works for his family’s processed cheese business. By the time we’re dancing Viennese waltz in the driveway I’m pretty much a lost woman.
Catherine comes over. ‘Our taxi’s here.’
I rise from the hay bale, say my goodbyes to Pierre and the other guests. Finally I come to Erik.
‘It was nice to meet you.’
We walk a little way from the bonfire.
His lips touch mine.
‘Why didn’t I stay?!’ I say to the ceiling.
Catherine in the neighbouring bed laughs. This has been my reprise pretty much since we left the bonfire.
A week later I’m showing Erik’s LinkedIn photo to close friends with an entirely unfounded sense of pride and ownership. I’ve added him on Facebook, which he doesn’t appear to use, and have heard nothing. I haven’t read the processed cheese report.
I decide to shelve all further explorations until the happy couple return from honeymoon and are ready to be reminded that they have friends who are still single and sufficiently unhinged to believe that a distance of 3000 miles is no obstacle to a relationship.
Still I Rise
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien