BRUCKNER played gently in the background, reminding me of home in Stuttgart. It was odd for happy music to be played softly – especially German music. She looked at me and smiled. ‘What is it? I said, turning my focus from the wall to her cheerful features. ‘Welcome back’ she said merrily, ‘where were you just now?’. ‘This music reminds me..’ I said trailing off as the waiter broke our line of sight, bending between us to plonk down our meals. ‘Can I uhhh, get you another coffee?’ ‘No,’ ‘Umm, no thanks’ we each replied. She leant in towards me, conspiratorially, her new white top glowing. ‘It’s funny watching people eat, don’t you think?’ I was caught off balance but rallied with ‘yeah, ingesting things are weird, if you think about it, like – what are we even doing’. She laughed ‘yeah, what ARE we even doing’ she echoed. I leant in towards her and took a small sip of water dramatically. Shrugging, she asked ‘how was that?’. I sighed somewhat impatiently, ‘did I tell you about the call I got from a telemarketer yesterday?’. Her brow furrowed ‘no, no I don’t think so’. I settled in ‘so, I got a call yesterday from someone saying that my account was going to be cancelled, so they needed me to confirm my details, basically I turned on this guy, maybe a bit harsh but I just let loose and was like -how do you feel ripping off old people!- like seriously, how do you sleep at night?!’. She said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s awkward when you actually speak to them, so what did he say?’. ‘He gave it back, and said he believed in what he was doing, it all came out in a jumble, like he was just waiting for me or some poor bastard to ask.’ ‘Anyway I said something like, karma will get you back man, karma is a bitch, and get this, then he shouted back at me, he shouted back “I AM IMPERVIOUS TO KARMA” and then hung up on ME – ha – isn’t that crazy?!’ ‘Ha – well yeah, I guess,’ she said picking up her cutlery. ‘We’ll maybe he’s a modern Wiccan,’ she said. ‘The broach church of the candle heads?’ I said, sarcastic and bating some explanation. ‘No Wiccans are like Pagans – witches and black magic – it’s coming back around,’ she said rather pointedly. Starting from the back of my eyes I could feel an intensity and my face cracked into an uncontrolled grin from ear-to-ear. ‘What do you mean?’ I said coaxingly. She shrugged ‘look, I don’t give away the farm the first time someone asks’. I gestured with open palms ‘I never asked for your farm’ I said jokingly. She picked up her knife and fork and stared at me as if to say “shut up and eat”. I gave up.


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