Single woman contemplates her current state and recalls the fact that her first husband met his third wife in the Philosophy Department at Foyles.
“Hmmm” she thinks and takes herself off to loiter purposefully in the local branch of Waterstone’s. Engrossed as she was in what the Popular Science shelves had to offer, she failed to notice that she had been joined there by a tall (but not too tall), silver haired ( but not old) man with one tattoo visible on his left biceps ( this, just visible below a trendy T shirt sleeve).
Realising she was no longer alone in these bookish backwaters, she was alarmed to realise that the top two button of her dress had mysteriously popped open. Coolly ( she thought) covering her fluster, she stepped back and then took in the enormity of the situation. Here she was. In a book shop. Side by side. With what could be her ideal man. Same interests, same age (well roughly). Same sense of adventure (the tattoo). Same…. her mind raced ahead to romantic encounters and……
Her rational mind also quickly logged the reasons to be cheerful. He then moved over to the “Smart Thinking’ section. “Well”, she thought ”it is on my way out. I could stop by there.” So she did.
He turned slightly and said ” Wow. You hang out in all the good sections!”. American! Or Canadian (even better). She met his gaze for a fleeting moment, and then cooly said…… nothing! All she could raise was a bit of a smile. Her heart pounded. She noticed her dress buttons had popped open again, and trying to regain some kind of cool, what came out of her mouth amazed her ” Well, I’m just heading back over there again”. “NO! You blew it! You WAlKED AWAY!!! ” Her mind flooded with a thousand clever, witty, enticing remarks, all the things she could have said instead of which … meltdown!
That person was me. My habitual response is to shut down when an attractive man makes a move. Walking out of the bookstore, boy, was I kicking myself. Why couldn’t I have just allowed myself a bit of space to notice the automatic reaction, stay present and take a risk?