A sunny winter morning in Melbourne. I’ve risen early and the shops are yet to open so I’ve entered “Bites”, an inviting café in a small cobbled lane, to spend some time pondering life over a coffee. Local artwork hangs around the walls and there’s a calming atmosphere as the delicious breakfast smells of sizzling bacon and freshly baked bread waft through. The young dark-haired girl at the counter looks up in anticipation of my order.
Me: A long black please. Just a small one.
An attractive man in his late thirties approaches from the kitchen behind her and smiles at me.
Man: Hello again. You came back … and you have new glasses. Very nice.
Me (slightly taken aback that he’s remembered me and noticed my glasses): Yes, I did and yes I have.
Man: How was Sydney and how was Daniel Kitson?
Me (my heart beating a little faster): Okay and excellent. Jeez, you’ve got a good memory.
I was in this café in March and had a brief conversation with this man, the café owner. I’d been heading to Sydney the following week so we’d had a quick debate about the vices and virtues of the two cities.
As another two customers enter, the girl passes me my coffee and I take a seat on a large wing-back chair. Soon the place is buzzing and out of the corner of my eye I see the café owner approach. Smiling nervously, he takes a seat next to me.
Man: So how long are you in Melbourne?
Me: I leave in three days – enough time to catch up with people. I’m staying in the Four-Trees Apartments so it’s a good location.
Man: Oh there’s a great bar next door to the Four-Trees: The Benchmark. They have a massive wine list … what are you up to tonight?
Me: I’m meeting some friends for dinner ….
Man: Ooh, excuse me for a second.
Our conversation has been interrupted by a customer dispute at the counter; he has to intervene and remains occupied for a quarter of an hour. I want to talk to him again, but if I linger any longer I’ll look desperate so I leave.
I walk two blocks to Chapel Street and make a decision; for the first time in my life I will take the initiative with a guy and give him my number. Leaning against a shop window, I write my name and phone number on the back of a receipt (first checking that it wasn’t for any embarrassing purchases!) and walk back to the café.
As I enter he looks up and smiles, a curious (or hopeful?) flicker in his eye. I approach the counter.
Me: I just thought I’d give you my number in case you’d like to go for a drink while I’m here. (There, I’d done it!).
Him: I was going to ask you but you left! Hang on a minute …
He reaches for something under the counter. I panic wondering if he’s going to ask me to dial his phone so that he’ll have my number on it … my hands are shaking so much that there’s no way I’ll be able to smoothly press the digits. It’s a bloody miracle I kept my voice so stable when I came in.
Him: Here’s my card – it’s got all my contact details on it, but I’ll give you a call later today to arrange a drink for tomorrow night?
Me: Sure, that sounds good.
I confidently walked away; proud that I’d finally (at the age of 35) managed to make the first move. And I stayed in Melbourne longer than three days …
And???? Is that it? Don’t leave us hanging – what happened???………
You bloody better be returning my dear! You can bring him too if you want. I don’t mind. P.S. I expect a much more detailed accounto to follow. I’m excited…!
He doesn’t have a weirdo name or surname though. Didn’t you want me to marry someone called Wolfgang so you could say “Simone and Wolfgang” are coming for dinner. Or tie the knot with the guy whose last name was Straddling so you could introduce your friend “Simone Straddling”?
As a nation of voyeurs, it doesn’t surprise me that one of your most remarked upon stories is a ‘kiss-chase’ cliff-hanger. Have you thought about a TV show? Perhaps you could call it “What Simone Did Next”.
Personally I’d offer to be your agent and make further comment. But I’ve got East Enders to catch up on!
Ugh, I loathe reality TV. Perhaps instead of a TV show I could open a twitter account and constantly let people know “What Simone Did Next”. Somehow I don’t think I’d have too many followers with my riveting, “I’m about to have a piece of toast” … “I’ve decided I’ll have a glass of orange juice to go with my toast” … “No, I think I’ll have apple juice instead”.
Hmm, we know that Eastenders is awful, but you can give me escapist drama (more like 24 or The West Wing) than reality TV any day!
I was a jittering ball of nerves!
Come on…next instalment please
Well it’s not going to be written with the kind of details provided in Dirty Havana Trilogy or Tropical Animal if that’s what you’re after! I know the kind of filth you like, Wilkinson! 🙂
This is your first update with a cliffhanger element. I like it. If you two get married, can you get Mark to open a coffee shop in London that still allows people to smoke in it? And it should have free coffee for people who smoke. And it should make enough money that you don’t have to work. If the next blog update doesn’t contain a detailed business plan for migrating the cafe to London and a wedding invite – I for one will be disappointed.
Ha! I fully agree that it should make enough money for me not to work, but I think that might be slightly incongruent with giving smokers free coffee?
Repeat after me, I AM NOT TO FIND LOVE IN AUSTRALIA!!!
I remember you making me say this before I left England! You know I’m a slow learner … 🙂
But is he willing to move to England? If not, you need to cut him loose immediately, you have dependants in England, namely, me!
Hmm, maybe I need to work on getting you to stand on your own two feet, my little chickadee. Should I just throw you out of the nest and see if you can fly? 😉
And? More info please!!
🙂 Well, his name is Mark, but I don’t want to say too much. It’s early days … plus I’m returning to London soon!