Tats leaps into the car beside me. â€œGod, sorry Iâ€™m late! Itâ€™s been manic here this morning, honestly.â€
We hug with some difficulty across the handbrake; she is one of my closest friends â€“ I seem to have known her forever â€“ and instantly we are talking, and laughing; stories of family, work â€“ all the normal girly stuff. As we park outside the cafÃ© she shoves a card and gift into my hand. â€œThatâ€™s late too,â€ she grimaces â€œBut you know how it isâ€¦â€
I do. The card says â€˜Being your friend gives me something to smile aboutâ€™. The gift is the Duffy CD I have been coveting but have so far not found time to download. Tats didnâ€™t know I wanted it; she just guessed Iâ€™d like it, because she does. In the same way that we bought exactly the same dinner service from Marks & Spencer without even knowing what the other had done.
I play the CD all the way home. And all the way to the client I am seeing this evening. I press the repeat button on â€˜Mercyâ€™ quite a few times.
I love you
But I gotta to stay true
My morals have got me on my knees
Iâ€™m begging you please, stop playing games
I donâ€™t know what this is
But you got me good
Just like you knew you would
I donâ€™t know what you do
But you do it well
Iâ€™m under your spell
You got me begging you for mercy
Why donâ€™t you release me?
â€œGet your interview OK?â€
â€œNo, not really.â€ And we both know that if there had been, I probably wouldnâ€™t have been able to use it.
â€œListen, Iâ€™ve got to got straight out â€“ the car sponsor â€“ theyâ€™re going to put our leaflets in with their mailings â€“ I have to take them over and speak to their PR people.â€
â€œCool. Iâ€™m just going to back up my audio then chill on the way home â€“ my friend bought me the Duffy CD. Have you heard it?â€
We are half way to our feet and he stops. â€œNot the whole album, but I love the single. When I was on holiday I looped it all the time.â€
â€œIâ€™ll see if I can rip the CD for you.â€
And after we hug goodbye we look at each other for a moment, our faces very close.
Of course, I go way over the top. I donâ€™t only copy Duffy, I also make a compilation CD of similar stuff I think he might like. I think long and hard before including Sophie B Hawkinsâ€™ â€˜Damn, I wish I was your loverâ€™, but mentally balance it out by finishing with Texasâ€™ â€˜I donâ€™t want a loverâ€™. I wonder what heâ€™ll make of it. Nobody, but nobody, shares my eclectic taste in music.