Okay, I’ll admit it.
I spend most of my morning wondering where to eat lunch.
I was on the bus when I made a firm decision. It was a sunny day. I had cash in my pocket. I felt like a treat.
I decided to dine at Crepes and Waffles.
My phone rang. Unknown number.
“Hola?” I ventured.
“Hi, my name is Alonso. I was given your number some months ago. I am interested in English classes,” the voice said.
“Could I invite you to lunch today to discuss it?”
Groan. I mean, hooray, more money for me.
“How about Crepes and Waffles?” he continued.
That’s better. It was turning into an excellent day.
The only trouble was, I knew nothing about this guy.
Still, I figured I could always make a serious fuss with the green tea ice-cream if he tried to abduct me.
When I saw Alonso I was even more surprised. He was about 50 and sporting a comb-over and tweed jacket.
Still, we discussed his work and I quoted him a reasonable price for an intensive week of morning and lunchtime classes.
He seemed harmless enough.
Until he looked at me through a mouthful of crepe.
“And when I came back from the middle east, I started having problems with my wife,” he said mournfully.
“She’d been on her own for too long. Now we’re in therapy.”
“Oh,” I said, ever the bloody conversationalist.
“That must be quite difficult, having to discuss your problems with er, a stranger…”
“Yes,” he agreed eagerly, almost knocking over his juice.
“I think she’s going to move out soon.”
Except I knew exactly what he was going to say next.
“And, er, you. Are you single?”
LIE, LIE, LIE, my brain screamed.
“Er, yes,” my big, fat, stupid mouth replied.
But I’m not that soft.
I deftly swung the conversation back to the classes, making rapid calculations involving the likelihood of his office being deserted at 6.30am versus exactly how much pain I can inflict with one pair of cowboy boots.
Thus the conversation was normal for the next 30 minutes, until he suggested dessert.
“Oh, I can’t. The chocolate pudding here is dangerous,” I replied automatically.
He peered over his glasses and examined me far too closely.
“Why dangerous?” he said softly.
“Are you on a diet?”
No need, I thought. I am about to be sick in the bread basket.
“So I have a question,” he continued over coffee.
“Would it be possible to have conversation classes with you in the evenings too?
“Maybe go to a bar or attend a concert?”
Seriously. Pass me my cowboy boots.