â€œCome here.â€ His voice is soft and low, but there is an element of command to it. I turn and take a step back and he and hugs me, kissing me gently on the cheek.
â€œDonâ€™t disappear on me,â€ I say as we move apart.
â€œIâ€™ll try not to.â€ His voice is more normal now, and there is almost a smile on his face.
I walk away, back towards my car. I wonder if he is watching me, or whether he is hurrying around the edge of the ground to the media centre. He is already hopelessly late for his appointment. It is not the first time we have hugged by any means, but somehow, now, there has been an almost imperceptible change. I catalogue the potential reasons for it, dismissing them all except for the most ridiculous one, which is my dress.
It is a green, white and fawn Diane von Furstenburg that clings to my figure like it was made for me. I have turned heads today; I know that. I felt masculine eyes on me as I walked through the ticket office and across the cafÃ©.
His eyes are a deep blue.
Sometimes, when something like this happens, you wonder if youâ€™ve imagined it. The signals are so small, you see, like the vibrations of a butterflyâ€™s wing. Isnâ€™t there a theory that one such tiny movement can change the world? And thereâ€™s another question too â€“ has it changed things for him, for me, or for both of us?
Why, for goodness sake, when I have hardly ever thought of him in this way before, have two words and a change in the tone of his voice, shifted my perception now? What is it about these miniscule nuances? Iâ€™ve been here before, of course I have â€“ we all have â€“ when something gives someoneâ€™s feelings away. Do we only remember the times weâ€™ve read the signals right, and conveniently forget all the embarrassing blunders?
I ponder this for a couple of days and then I need to email him. For business reasons, of course. In the email I warn him I will call him later but tell him no need to pick up if heâ€™s busy; itâ€™s nothing urgent.
I call him. He picks up. He asks if he can call me back in five minutes. As I wait I realise that (a) I am waiting; and (b) there are butterflies in my stomach. Damn and blast the man â€“ I donâ€™t want this. But I do.
And when he calls he tells me heâ€™s moved outside his office to talk, and again I sense a change. One of my clients, David, who considers himself quite a student of the human mind, has a thing about changes in patterns of behaviour. I begin to think perhaps he has a point. But we talk of nothing special; a bit about our next project, the interviews he is setting up for me, but mainly nothing more than gossip. I picture him standing above the ground, half an eye on the cricket being played below him, with his phone clamped to his ear and his suit jacket blowing around him in the breeze.