“Hello David.” I turn to face Caroline Davison. “Hello…” I begin.
“I’m surprised you’re buying your shirts here. Thought you’d be getting them handmade now. I heard you’d been elevated to the peerage.”
“Not quite the peerage Caroline.”
“No but I’m sorry I didn’t drop a line to congratulate you.”
“No. Not at all.”
“So, just an eye for a bargain then? The shirts David.” Caroline indicates the three shirts for under £100 I’m holding.
“Oh.” I look down at the shirts, their sartorial viability draining away. “No. Just browsing,” I reply, casually replacing the shirts on the shelf. “I seem to have fewer lunch buddies these days. Since the elevation. More time for, well, browsing. If there’s not much happening.”
“Oh, you poor boy. Well, let’s have lunch together.”
“Lunch? Oh no. I didn’t mean…”
“Don’t worry. Not today David. Look I’ll get my PA to call yours. The next week or two.”
Ten years ago, before I knew Emma – well, strictly speaking, not actually before I knew Emma but certainly before we were a couple – I’d gone out with Caroline. For a few months. She’d treated me a little shabbily at the end. But I think I’d probably treated her a little shabbily throughout. Well, that was the thing really. It was never quite clear that it was a relationship. Until she ended it.
“Yes. That’d be nice Caroline. Thank you.”
“And Emma? Oh, she’ll be at school.”
“I wasn’t inviting her for lunch David. How is she? And the lad?”
“Ah. Good. Good Caroline. And you?”
“All cylinders. All cylinders David. Well, see you soon.” Caroline turns. And is gone. I look down at the three shirts. Really not my colours. What was I thinking?