Stumbled on


It is a bright, sunny day outside. On the radio as I come in, the weather forecast – tacked on to the end of the news broadcast on the BBC –  promises great things for the weekend; 12 to 15 degrees and sunshine, loads of it. If there is any doubt that our summer, typically bipolar at best is finally here, this dispels it.

 Inside, in the open plan office I share with the team at work, it is quiet. It is early too, just past 8.00am and I am the only one in; perfect timing to chase down my regular Friday piece of junk food and savour the quietness – unusual in the last year I have worked here. That was the back story to how, and why I was humming in my head and chewing noisily on a bit of roll and bacon as I ambled towards the coffee machine for a free brew to wash down my breakfast.

 I have already hit the button on our old, creaky coffee machine when I spot the two of them in the corner. They are speaking in hushed tones, one has a hand on the other’s shoulder, the other has her head bowed and is pressing a very wet handkerchief to her nose. I hear her sniffle, and conclude she has been crying.

It has always seemed to me that time slows down when you want it to speed up – Friday afternoons after lunch are a case in point, as are long flights with only dodgy movies for company, or worse inveterate snorers. This, discomforting emotions all bared, ranks with the worst of those.

I don’t know who is more embarrassed, the crying woman or me. I wait the seemingly interminable 30 seconds it takes for my cup to fill up, nod an apology and head off, suitably quietened.

 At my desk, looking out across the room it is still bright and sunny outside. Inside, there is the slight tinge of sadness for what I know not.

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