Thursday, 24 August 2017


One of the women in the coffee shop is quiet, undemonstrative, reserved; there’s an air of detachment about her and such a quality intrigues me. It’s like finding a locked box which rattles when you shake it. It makes you want to prise the lid off and find out what’s inside, even though you’re a decent sort of person and realise that you have no right to do such a thing. You have to coax it off gently so no harm is done, and if that doesn’t work you have to accept disappointment.

I asked her today what she does when she isn’t working.



‘Nope. I spent most of my holiday in bed.’

‘Is that because there’s nothing out there you want?’

‘There’s nothing in here I want,’ she said, waving in the general direction of the ceiling.

Mmm. Either she doesn’t want to answer the question or her general ennui is somehow connected with work. But that won’t do; there has to be more to it than that.

I sat down with my coffee and muffin (raspberry and white chocolate, just in case you find prosaic detail more interesting than psychological enquiry.) When I finished and was about to leave, I returned to the counter and asked:

‘Do you read?’


‘What sort of reading matter do you like?’

‘Fan fiction.’

‘Fan fiction?’

A happy smile came over her face and she continued:

‘That’s why I don’t usually tell people I read. Why do you ask?’

‘Because I’m intrigued.’

And then the Person from Porlock turned up in the guise of a customer and I had to leave it there. I had hoped it would continue along the lines of:

‘Intrigued about what?’


‘Why me?’

‘You’re hiding something, and that’s intriguing.’

‘What am I hiding?’

‘Who you are.’

Ah well, maybe next time. And I must find out what fan fiction is some time over the next week.

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