I Am From
On Tuesday, last week, I had just sat down at an empty table in the Colombo Food Court and was looking forward to my flat white and a luscious banoffee cream doughnut- my reward for enduring a very overdue medical check-up. I turned round to pick up the newspaper from the table behind me and as I turned back, I was surprised to see a man sitting opposite me. He appeared to be about my age, tallish and slightly rangy, with silver grey hair curling about his ears. I’m sure I would have noticed him if he’d been there before.
‘Hello,’ he said smiling politely. ‘I hope I’m not disturbing you.’
‘Not at all,’ I lied. ‘Just surprised really. You seem to have popped out of nowhere. Where did you come from?’
‘I am from your future,’ he replied calmly, as though it were Dunedin he was referring to.
‘What do you mean, “my future”?
‘I mean your future, you know; where you’re heading. I know you’re looking forward to it. I thought you’d be pleased.’
I looked at him more closely as a young woman served us each a cup of coffee. He was quite good looking really, with dark blue eyes, a broad forehead and a mouth that seemed used to smiling. What a pity he was clearly delusional. I decided to be polite.
‘What part of my future are we talking about?’
His smile deepened. ‘Well, for starters, there’s our trip to Sereilhac to visit Russ and Judith; Jane and Hilary are still there. They’re not the slightest bit surprised to see us. Jane is thrilled to meet me actually; greets me like a long lost friend, which I am I suppose.’
‘Sereilhac? How? What?’I blurted.
‘Well, we fly of course; business class to Paris, then train to L’Aiguille, where Judith picks us up from the station and brings us back to their lovely rented farmhouse. Plenty of room for two more.’
He saw my smirk at the mention of business class. ‘No worries about money any more, after your windfall. And No, I’m not interested in your money; I have plenty of my own. I am definitely interested in you though,’ he added quietly.
At the mention of my closest friends, who really were currently meeting up in a small French village, I gave up humouring him or trying to fit what was happening into a normal Tuesday morning.
He’d said he was from my future and this was a future I’d often dreamed of. But who was he and how did he know my dreams? I looked up from staring into my coffee cup to find him still smiling that easy, knowing, slightly mischievous smile.
‘Yes, exactly,’ he nodded. ‘I’m Tom, Tom Harris, and very pleased to meet you at last.’
‘Tom’ was the name I had given to my ‘perfect man’ when compiling lists with a select few girlfriends. To see him sitting there across from me, draining the last mouthful from his cup, was a dream come true or my worst nightmare- had I finally lost my rather tenuous grip on reality?
He reached over and put his hand over mine. ‘I’m off now,’ he said. ‘But I’ll see you again, soon I believe.’ As he stood to leave he reached down and placed his lips firmly on mine. Then he turned and walked away. As I watched him disappear through the automatic doors at the end of the hall, I struggled to grasp what had just happened. I looked around to see if anyone was staring at me, but no-one else seemed to have noticed my psychotic episode. The world around me was going along at its normal, boring best.
‘Just wishful thinking,’ I said to myself. ‘But really gorgeous all the same.’
And then I registered his empty coffee cup sitting on the table beside mine.