I lost track of how many times we almost met. Eight, perhaps. Or nine.
My life was going through what we’ll call a difficult patch. My long-term love had left, my career hadn’t shown any signs of movement for some years now, my ailing father lived too far away from me, too near the sister who was determined to look the other way. That was when I first heard about her.
‘You’ll love her. She’s completely your type. She’s really funny – you’d get on like a house on fire.’
‘Well, introduce me then,’ I said, smiling benevolently. I held no faith in matchmaking but I admired Annie’s optimism in the face of indifference so I humoured her.
‘She’s travelling at the moment. But when she gets back, I’ll arrange a dinner or something.’
Dinner never happened. I forgot, Annie forgot. Then Dave, at a party in somebody’s garden with a band playing and jugs of beer, said above the noise; ‘Hey, have you met Rebecca yet? She’s supposed to be coming. Just your type. She’ll cheer you up. I’ll keep an eye out for her, send her your way.’
But she didn’t turn up that day. Must have been ill or something.
At the pub: ‘You must meet Rebecca. She’s lovely. Stop you moping around like a lost sheep.’
At the football: ‘Rebecca came last week, she’s such a laugh. A girl who likes football, what more could you ask for? Gotta get you two together.’
Finally, a year and a half later, I did meet her. And she was funny, like everyone said. And lovely – beautiful - in fact. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. We even had a brief chat about football. It was her wedding day. I was there, a last-minute addition to the guest list as a substitute plus one, awkward in an ill-advised suit. And she was there, smiling and waving and clutching her waterfall of flowers.