I look out of the window for the umpteenth time at the same time as reprimanding myself for doing so; I know standing at the window doesn’t make anyone arrive sooner, but I still do it and have done it since I was tall enough to see out.
Waiting for someone to arrive doesn’t get any easier. Despite age and experience, it still drives us to distraction and makes us obsess about things that are normally trivial.
I take another look at my dress. It looks wrong and makes my tummy bulge. I run upstairs to frantically search for an alternative, then dash into another room which looks out on to the road. Still no sign of him.
I check my phone for the 20th time – no new messages. So I start looking at earlier ones to see if there is any hint that he will be late or even not show up at all. There’s nothing obvious – just a series of ‘Oks’, ‘Yeses’ and ‘See you thens’.
Why do we over-think things and look for ‘signs’? They don’t read into anything.
Catching my reflection in a mirror I scrutinise my makeup. A tiny smudge of eyeliner convinces me I have to do that eye all over again – it just won’t do. And is my underwear ok? Does that bra work? Do my arm pits need an extra scrape with the razor, even though I did them only 40 minutes ago in the shower?
Eye redone, undies satisfactory, pits passable, I rush downstairs – I could have missed him in the 30 seconds which have elapsed since I last looked out of the window.
I then turn my attention to straightening newspapers and magazines on the table in the lounge, crawling around on the floor picking bits off the carpet and straightening cushions on chairs. This is all punctuated with glances out of the window every few seconds.
I am now running out of slightly pointless things to do and will soon move on to utterly ridiculous things if he doesn’t come soon. He is already five minutes late. What if he is not going to show at all? What will I do?
My phone suddenly bleeps. I jump a few inches off the ground, as I am so on edge that the slightest thing is liable to send me into shock.
‘Running a bit late’, he says.
‘A bit late?!’ I scream out loud. Not the best news when I’ve been running back and forth and up and down the stairs like a demented hamster. But at least I know and now have even more time for carpet bit-picking, cushion-fluffing, lining up bowls of nuts in perfect symmetry and checking my makeup 20 more times.
‘Ok,’ I reply, ‘no worries’.