The story ends with two people, a boy and a girl, staring at each other in stunned silence in the middle of a supermarket. Each had a different reason for being there that night. The boy had finally made his way back from work and found the fridge was empty and decided now was the right time to do some grocery shopping. It was 11:30 PM in the night, he was exhausted and he hadn’t changed from his work clothes. This bit about his work clothes is important because he worked at an investment bank. These are guys who wear ties to work every day like they were going to prep school. But then the boy, with picture perfect blue eyes with his dashing smile had probably gone to a prep school. The girl would know… she dated him for about a two years. They stopped dating a year ago actually. Exactly a year ago.
We turn our attention to the girl. If the boy was dressed for an investment bank, the girl was dressed for a graduate school. You know? The years where you obsess so much about books and studies and professors and libraries that the only fun you have is at the local pub and the only clothes you normally put up with are the ones that dont require too much maintenance. So it was jeans, a top, a sweater, cap and gloves. She looked great even so, she always did. Her attire is also important when you learn that she was in-fact an adjunct faculty at the law school, you may even hear a sharp intake of breath. She didn’t look it.
I know what you are thinking, if she is a law school professor, she might not be young. Well, you are right, she wasn’t, but haven’t you been paying attention? I said she looked good in jeans and a random top. In this city, at this time of the day, and no… wait… second thoughts, at ANY time of the day… she was the top 5% most attractive woman you would see. Statistically, this is not a fact, this is a hypothesis. They will teach you in business school that its safe to make a hypothesis because no one really knows what your sample size is. So, i rest my case… she may be an adjunct faculty at a boring law school, but she was VERY good looking. Did I also mention that she split time between teaching at the law school and advising a local law firm? I didn’t? My bad.
I haven’t as yet told you what she was doing at the supermarket, but you may have guessed that already. She may look attractive and her bio definitely puts her in the affluent singles category in any dating agency’s books… but she was single and not in any dating agency’s books. She was single and content. She didn’t have time, part of the reason these two went out, they both had little time and each understood the commitments of the other. She, like he, was… time poor and asset rich.
You can tell a lot about someone by looking at their grocery basket. She had organic foods and skinny milk. He had corn chips and cup noodles. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to work out that he needed mothering and she needed company.
Well, I’ve set the stage for a conversation between the two… but the funny thing about life is, it is not really funny. Life is rude and unpredictable. It’s never as you picture it and a narrator may choose to omit certain features that change a scene that could well be placed in a romantic comedy to fit perfectly in Dexter. So let me tell you what is really going on.
There is the boyish smile and the HUGO BOSS suit, but the tie isn’t tight and the eyes are bloodshot. He has been working too hard and he is afraid he might be fired soon. He doesn’t look very good. He has lost weight since she last saw him and in the moments leading up to this chance encounter, he had been trying to hide behind one of the shelves because he wanted to avoid her.
She on the other hand may have been dressed in CALVIN KLEIN jeans and not look her best, but she was talking candidly on the phone and her body language, her arms swaying and her laughter conveyed the picture of a happy person. A really happy person. The kind who sings in their shower. The kind who skip when they go down stairs. You don’t see many hard working lawyer/professors who are happy. But yet, here she was. And she was shocked to see him this way.
Like I said, life is unpredictable. It might have been possible for them to just say hi and go out for a quick coffee before they went their separate ways. That would happen in SATC, but they quickly exchanged glances, said hello’s and then said goodbye’s. She didn’t want to see him because 1) he looked sad and 2) He had broken her heart a year ago. Likewise he didn’t want to see her because 1) She looked happy and 2) He was heart broken ever since they broke up.
So there you are.