Single Espresso for Colin?
Another instalment of Sally and Dan — previously here.
“Hi Dan, it’s Sally.”
“I know, Sal, your name comes up on my phone when you call, along with a photo of you — that school one you hate.”
“I’ve got a date. Another date! This time it’s with some bloke called Colin and he wants to meet for coffee. What do you think?”
Dan sighed. “Are you sure it’s just a normal coffee date? You sure he’s not into coffee enemas? I had a mate who used to do them — do you remember Jamie? Big bloke, worked out, but had a massive caffeine problem. Talked much too fast and always smelled like a Starbucks.”
“There’s no kinkiness involved. None. Not this time.”
“You’re such a spoilsport.”
“We’re meeting in the coffeeshop in Foyles — do you think that’s a good idea? Will you text me about half an hour in so I’ve got an excuse to leave if he’s awful?”
“Well, I suppose you will be only around the corner from Old Compton Street — if it goes well you can do some light “shopping”, and if it’s shite you can meet me in the Village.”
Two days later Sally stood in her tiny Tooting flat. On the floor were two Boden dresses, and a pair of jeans from Top Shop.
“Dan, it’s me.”
“Who? Who is this? My phone shows a twelve year old with a terrible perm.”
“For God’s sake, Dan! This is an emergency. What am I going to wear? Dress or jeans? High street or designer? Not that I’ve got any designer, but that blouse from Zara looks quite YSL.”
“Sal, wear something comfortable. Do tits or legs, not both. Oh, and try to make sure your ample arse is covered this time.”
“If I wear a Boden dress I’ll look too Yummy Mummy, won’t I? Jeans and Zara blouse could work, or will it look as if I’m trying to be a MILF? Help me here, Dan!”
“Darling sister, wear what you’re comfortable in!And have a wonderful time. See you later.”
Sally dragged her recently removed jeans back on, finished dressing, and ran to the Tube station without a second glance in the mirror.
“Oi, love! You’re about to drop something outta your back pocket!”
Sally turned and stared blankly at the fruit and veg man outside Tooting Broadway station, then fumbled around the waistband of her jeans, only to find that the knickers she’d had on all day, and taken off before she showered and dressed to come out, had somehow ended up falling out of her back pocket.
They weren’t even nice knickers.
“This isn’t going well” she muttered to herself as she swiped her Oyster card and jumped on the first northbound tube.
Sally only had a blurred photo of Colin, so she hoped that he’d recognise her first. The cafe was full of tourists and office workers who’d decided to avoid the packed pubs of a warm August Friday afternoon. She joined the queue and ordered a latte.
The chap in front was tall and handsome.
She dug her phone from her bag, “Yeah, can’t talk right now, I’m in Foyles about to meet this guy. I’ll call you later, yeah?”
The Barista called out, “Single espresso for Colin?”
Tall and Handsome raised a hand.
“Oh! You’re Colin?” said Sally, as she leaned forward.
“Oh, wow! Well, that was easy! I’ll just grab my coffee mug and join you.”
Colin smiled at Sally and then settled himself at one of the long oak tables. He got out a MacAir from his canvas backpack, fired it up, and looked intently at the screen as he stroked his beard.
“I’ll sit opposite, shall I? So, did it take you long to get here?”
Colin looked up at Sally and nodded. He returned his gaze to the screen.
“Are you a Creative then?”
Colin looked up again, “I, erm, yeah, I guess so”, then back to the screen.
“So, what are you working on at the moment?”
He closed his Mac down, swallowed his coffee in a single gulp, and began to get up.
“Oh. Er. Emergency at work? Shall we reschedule?”
But Colin had already grabbed his bag and was busy shoving his laptop into it as he strode for the door.
Sally got her phone out again and texted Dan,
“Not sure what I said, but date utter pants. Come and save me! Xx”
“Don’t leave me sitting here all alone. Am in Foyles cafe. Easy to find me — desperate woman, just been left by rude date xx”
A tray with a teapot and lemon drizzle cake appeared on the table where Colin had been sitting. Sally glanced up at the owner — a man in his early forties. He looked nervous. “I’m terribly sorry, but are you by any chance Sally? I’m supposed to be meeting her here, and I’m terrible at these things, but you look a little like the photograph online…”