Friday 29 March 2019

A Perfect Stranger

by Stephanie Simpkin  

craft beer

We had been separated,  for nearly two years. Meeting up next week to discuss the divorce.

Divorce, neither of us, really wanted. So strange, no one else involved. No passion, no disagreements, we just drifted, no, kids, just a wonderful dog, Fido, which we shared, one week each.

It would be an amicable, divorce, a fifty-fifty split, we would sell the house, in Muswell Hill, both buy apartments in central London, and go our separate ways, still remain friends, forever.

Our friends, were shocked, we were so right for each other, perfect, a five year marriage, poof! Gone, over! Are you sure, you could try again, try.

Work, both doctors, me a  general surgeon, Mike a consultant, in orthopaedics, at different London hospitals.

 Great careers, unsocial hours, stressful, no time for each other, no time for love, indifference, really.

 We had discussed  having children, who would give up their jobs, their very successful jobs? We were like ships, that passed in the night, you have to, have sex, to get pregnant, I know that, trust me, I am a doctor!

At first, I went on various dates, friends, colleagues, introductions, dinner parties. All my friends, leaning forward, in anticipation, excitement. They always, had a better time, than I.

If, I fancied them, wanted sex, I didn’t like their company.  Dull, boring, neither amusing, nor intelligent. If, I didn’t fancy them, I found them amusing, intelligent, but if they had touched me, tried to kiss me, No, No! They had to have nice hands.

I know I sound shallow,. Who do I think I am? I know who I am, fussy, and why not?

Friends, told me I was, attractive, young, well, thirty- eight, a  good catch, what was I?

A bloody herring, hate kippers, the smell, stays longer, then my soon to be, future, ex-husband. I would end up an old, lonely, Miss Marple type. I didn’t knit.

Eventually friends tired of me, well, my behaviour, no more blind dates, any dates.

I was happy, at first. I took up yoga, joined a creative writing class, I met some nice, new people, made new friends, saw my old friends.

I tried internet dating.  Tinder.  I never swiped to the right. I went speed dating. Wasn’t quick enough for me, maybe, I would become a lesbian, why not? Don’t knock it, until, you try it, so, to speak, no!

Why don’t we meet people like we used too, pubs, bars, gyms, no, not gyms, at work, by chance.  Like when, I had first met Mike;  he was the love of my life, or so, I had thought.

I was asked out, sometimes, on a promising date. I would be paged, rung, an emergency. On a dull date, never happened, even the Gods, were pissed off, with me!

A spinster of the parish, dying alone, friendless, childless, no family, a paupers funeral.

I joined a gym, well, was given, a free months membership. Large, sweaty, smelly men, tattooed, I know that sounds, old fashioned, but. The wimpy ones, trying to get six packs, and not, Stella Artois!

I was meeting a girlfriend in a bar, after work. I sat at the bar, ordered a drink. She rang, had to cancel. It had been, a particularly, bad day, for me; a patient had died, (worse day for him) very stressful. I tried to relax, took off my glasses and  sipped my strong, drink.

Then, I saw him, across the room. Tall, dark ,and very, handsome. He was standing by a table, sipping a beer.

Probably, waiting for his girlfriend, his wife, his boyfriend, his husband, hope not. Maybe, a business meeting; he’s wearing a dark suit, white shirt. Hope he’s, been stood up, suppose he’s got children, oh, he is answering  his phone, he looks dejected, he’s sat down.

What are his hobbies? Hobbies, what is wrong with you, sounds, like something out of brief encounters, maybe, you could drop your, handkerchief, maybe, he will leave you at the altar, no, you are not, Jane!

Is he English, Italian, what a beautiful language, does he like the sun, the beach, snow, the cold, hope it’s the sun. A modern house, a period house, a poky flat, he may not live in England, in London.

Is he a vegan, a vegetarian, no, a steak man, now, he’s standing up, is he going, no, a full glass, its dim in here, hope he’s not dim, he’s back.

Another drink, a double, get, a taxi home! Does he love his mother, does he have one, cause he has one, had one.

Is he sporty, yea, he looks good, great, bet his body, is smooth, taut, what is wrong with you? Wonder, what side of the bed he prefers, hope, it’s the left.

Opera, ballet, the Stones, the Beatles, hope it’s not folk, don’t mind country, grunge, or is that a dance, maybe, he is a Morris Man, no!

Wonder if he is a solicitor, a doctor, an actor, unemployed, is he kind, generous, hope he doesn’t have cats, bet he dances well, is he into art, antiques, books.

Nice friends, nice family. Shall I go over, smile, say something witty, he will, throw his head back, and laugh, invite me to sit down, buy me a drink, no, I can’t, can I?

Does he speak French, has he a nice voice, is he generous, fair, faithful. A social conscience, charitable. A Tory, Labour, not National Front , Green Party, stay or Brexit, football, rugby, does he cook, I am useless, live on takeaways.

Is he tidy, no, that doesn’t matter. Bath or shower, travel, the theatre, the cinema, red wine, white, rosé. Hope he doesn’t’ smoke, take drugs, well, the occasional spliff.

He looks suave, sophisticated, BBC four, the Archers, not Corrie, EastEnders.

He’s standing up, looking, straight at me, he’s smiling, what a great smile, he’s raising his glass, no one behind me, he’s coming over, too late, shit, shall I run, my heart, it’s too fast.

He has just, touched my hand, wow! An electric shock, up close he is so, good looking, perfect, could he be the one? He, is the one!

“May, I join you? Not, wearing your glasses? How’s Fido! “

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