Gin and James

We’re meeting Mary for lunch, my invisible friend told me. She’s bringing this guy James, thinks the two of you might be a good match.

Why isn’t he a good match for you, I asked?

Nah, she said, not my type. He’s works for the UN, goes to places like Pakistan and Iraq,  lives on the edge, danger etc. He’s your kind of guy.

I was quite excited to meet James. I like danger. We walked over to meet Mary who in fact was with – not James from the UK – but Jill from the USA.

She was really cool, but definitely not James.

I was a bit sad that we wouldn’t be hearing war stories and in a moment of madness texted James to say let’s meet anyway. We set a date for that night.

Dinner.

A blind date.

He was sitting at the table when I arrived.

Hi Claire.

Violet, I said, it’s Violet.

Oh oh sorry that is a bit embarrassing, of course, Violet, lovely to meet you Violet.

He put out his hand to shake mine.

He had the eyes and the handshake of a man who’s spent a lot of time in war zones.

I said exactly that and he looked at me oddly.

Never been to a war zone in my life.

He was very clear.

Iraq? Pakistan? Living on the edge?

You’ve got the wrong guy. That’s Mary’s other friend, Justin.

This was complicated.

Jill was not James. I was not Claire. James was not Justin.

The waitress came over.

Your husband’s been waiting patiently for you,’ she said. ‘What can I get you to drink?’

It was too hard to tell her he was not my husband. By that time anyway I was not even sure who he was.

Perhaps my husband should order for me, I replied.

He placed the order.  Gin and tonic for my wife.  A single.

How do you know what I like to drink?

I was curious.

He told me he’d seen the play I wrote. Violet Online. That he had, in fact, after the show, been on a date with Violet.

Who was of course not Violet, because I was Violet, she was the actress, but oh dear sweet Goddesses, who cares anymore.

It was, all things considered, very confusing.

But a really nice date.

When we parted he asked if we could stay in touch.

I’d like that, sure.

This morning I sent him a message.

Thanks for dinner, I typed. Fun night.

The answer came immediately.

Who dis?

I’d messaged the wrong James.

And I’m quite sure Claire is sitting somewhere looking at her phone wondering who the guy is who just messaged her to say thanks for the very nice night.

It’s too complicated.

Maybe we’re old.  Maybe it’s the gin.

Maybe.

oh-strange-man-who-are-you-2

 

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