“You look gorgeous,” the Captain says as he pulls out the chair next to me and folds his large self into it. We’re at that restaurant underneath the train tracks – the one with the rumbling sound.
“Thank you,” I say, smiling at him. At least I hope I’m smiling: have the worst headache – was crying earlier in my personal training session and my cold is still bad and my chest is sore in various places.
“What do you want to eat?” He says. He’s definitely attractive but he doesn’t look young. He’s forty three.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I say, even though I come here often and always have the melanzane parmigiana and a green salad and a glass – I mean two glasses – of Chianti.
We talk. We cover various topics: discrimination in the army, his childhood, my childhood, our respective educations.
“Would you like to order?” The waiter says, hovering.
“We haven’t decided yet,” the Captain says, sending him away.
“So, um, where do your children live?” I say.
“In Kent,” he says.
“And how often do you see them?” I say.
“Every other weekend,” he says.
I look at him. He looks his age, I suppose. He’s got a good face: big hazel eyes, a friendly smile. Obviously he doesn’t look like a twenty five year old, but he’s in shape, looks fit and healthy.
“You have amazing eyes,” he says, smiling at me. “It’s dangerous if you look at me like that.”
“Sorry,” I say.
The waiter returns. We order drinks and food.
We cover some other topics: jungle survival, Ebola, domestic violence.
“I know a bit about military history,” I say, pushing my salad around the plate. “Last night I was watching The World At War and it was about the conscription of women and…”
I can’t remember what he says but he’s got a brain, that’s clear.
“I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone,” he says, looking at his watch.
“Sorry is my chat boring you?” I say.
“No, not at all, but I have to get back to the office: I’ve got a meeting at 4,” he says, putting his arm round me. “I’ve had such a great time. Can I see you again?”
“They all say that,” I say. “It’s amazing how few of them mean it.”
“I can’t wait to see you again,” he says.
So let’s see if he means it…