Wine bar with a close friend, probably my closest colleague at my last company. Female, ten years older than me. Goes to prove that which we already know which is that age becomes immaterial as you get older. We were thick as thieves from quite early on. Don’t have a lot in common (background wise, she’s a Londoner born and bred, almost an EastEnder) – but absolutely lovely – utterly genuine, kind, warm, loyal, etc; attributes which I covet which he never really had *cough*.
The wine bar was heaving. All of London is out in these final days before Christmas. The venue is in Belgravia which attracts the seriously well heeled. Think fur coats, twin set and pearls.
The waiter smiled and greeted me warmly when we went in. I recognised him. It was rammed. I left it at that. We finally got a seat. Initially we ordered fat chips and a lovely dip and a £25 bottle of vintage prosecco. It has long been on record that I unequivocally adore prosecco; more so than champagne. We finally got a table. I then ordered a croque monsieur – sublime. R had the daily tart – looked delish.
We were there for 2 hours.
When it came to pay, she was in the loo and he came over with the card reader. We got talking. Asked me how the evening had been, etc. He was charming. And he was beautiful. One of those studenty types, borderline sloaney. Quite big hair, wide smile, big teeth, profoundly English; a pedigree. Very lovely. We talked.
R came back from the loo. I pulled a ‘2 for 1’ voucher for Sound of Music theatre tickets from my wallet, asking R if she was interested. “No”, said she – not quite her thing. “Shame” said I. “Oh I’ve always loved Sound of Music said he”. One doesn’t like to presume to know when another is gay, but this to me was a reasonably strong signal. “OK” said I. Not quite knowing what else to say. “Hope to see you before Christmas” said he. I was borderline swooning at this time (I’d had a reasonable amount to drink). He was divinity incarnate.
R and I bade him farewell (I was clapping him round the back without realising it) – firm, warm, masculine – and off we trotted, out into a cold, misty London night laughing arm in arm. A happy, profoundly convivial evening.
And I want to go there again to speak to him. For he was lovely.