Thirty years ago we promised that if life took us in separate directions, we would meet at this place, the corner of Trafalgar Square in London if destiny had not joined us in the meantime, and I can tell you it had not.
Still, I am drawn by agreements, pacts or call them what you will so on the date and hour agreed I took my woman of the moment, Katherine, to the spot where we would have met if life was less chaotic.
It was an interesting tale, as Katherine told me, and would have remained so if, out of the corner of my eye, I had not spied a lady in a wheelchair, grey haired and slightly plump but somehow as I remembered her: is not that always so?
I paused in mid-speech and, leaving my date on her own, walked over to that sedentary person and said; “Samantha” and she turned her head to me and said “Yes.” In those eyes was the angel I loved before I discovered complexity, and the memory of my first kiss!
I walked back to my bewildered partner and said brusquely, “Let me get you home, I have business here” and I almost pushed her towards the taxi-rank and gave her address to the driver at the head of the queue. We are not always kind or mindful or faithful towards another’s feelings, I am not anyway, and I failed on that day to be civilised, but Samantha was my centre and imperative, and to leave her now could not be embraced: that’s how I felt anyway!
At the time we parted, I loved her as only the young can do, but she was engaged to a man who was shaped to be a hero and served as a pilot in the RAF; a sportsman to boot, and I had nothing to offer her apart from those “insights” writers trade for drinks.
When young, she was in a place where “Insights” have little value, but somehow she loved me despite all that. She called me “Unemployable” and so I was: an “adventurer without budget,” but her beauty, inside and out, made me want to be a normal man, and so I became a journalist with a daily paper but by then she was gone: transported off to another space in the arms of her hero who, I now learned, had died in a motor accident which also left her paralysed.
Here she was, and here I was, almost by coincidence: I as a matter of sentiment, and she because she wanted to connect with her past I presume, but did that matter in the end?
Looking at her, still with elements of that beauty I remembered, I raised her hand to my lips and dreamt that we were both young again and brought together by destiny.