Quiet dinner by the river. We talk every once in a while, with short breaks just like introverts do. We would both rather listen, so we end up in silence quite often.
‘So what’s your novel going to be about? Or… is it a novel?’
‘I haven’t started it. Don’t know if it’s a novel. But I will write a book one day’. I don’t actually believe that, but it’s only the first of the long list of white lies I’m about to say here. I lie when I panic. And I panicked a lot during this trip. I don’t even remember when he started to think I would write a book one day, I never told him that. But for some reason, I never corrected him either. I played along up to the point I actually started thinking about writing a book one day.
‘Let’s go, missy.’
‘Did you just call me missy?’ I was just about to ask, instead I smiled and packed my bag. He laughed at me when he saw my bag, way too big for how long I’d stayed there. I stopped fighting back, I just laughed by the elevator while he kept commenting.
I stay on the front seat, my laptop case on my thighs, and watch him drive on the wrong side of the road. He starts telling me stories about each village (or town, who knows?) we pass by, some linked to his university years, others to his first jobs. He shows me a castle I pretend to see (I’m short-sighted and refuse to wear glasses) and a boys’ school with a famous name that I pretend to have heard about (I was tired of saying no to everything).
He tells me of the other castles I could see in his country and we end up talking about Roman monuments and history for some reason. I tell him stories about creepy boys in highschool, I never know what stories to tell really, my life is either very boring or very weird. None of that makes for a good story.
He tells me he loves driving and he used to love driving in the city at night. He would go visit his mother in the north and his then girlfriend now wife in the south. I remember I love to drive too, I just haven’t done it in a while. Oh, and the city at night, when I feel like I own every street… We talk about his geeky board games and his Tuesdays in the pub playing with his mates. I make fun of the big bag full of games he carries in his trunk all the time.
I wish this ride would last longer. I see the signs and realise we’re almost there, yet I don’t want to stand in an airport waiting to board and thinking about everything I’ve said or done wrong in this trip.
He carries my big bag around in the airport until we find the check in desk. I get rid of it eventually and decide we have time for coffee. We chat over a cup of tea and a coffee, he sees I have a book with me when I look for my wallet. He asks about it, I tell him the title, I avoid the author as I’m never sure how to pronounce his name correctly.
We shake hands, he asks me to text when I get home, I go through security and then decide to buy another book for the plane, one that’s entertaining and easy to read.
I get home and think of texting him: ” Home safe. I dropped the smart book and bought some silly love story novel from the airport. Perfect for a slightly delayed flight. It was great to see you, thanks for looking after me”. And yet all I texted was Home safe, it was great to see you, have a nice weekend.