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A Few Days

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by Pete Symons

 

This is a story a friend of mine told me about a friend of his. As far as I know it’s true, but that doesn’t matter to me as I think it raises an important question.

This is it:

This friend-of-a-friend met a woman at a party. They started chatting and, as they talked, this friend began to realise that was it. She was The One. They kept talking, they laughed. They shared stories. And, the more they talked, the more convinced he was that he was right —that he had found the person he was looking for. That we all look for. So he kept talking for a couple of hours or so and eventually gathered up the courage to ask for her phone number. She gave it to him. He left the party straight afterwards, the phone number scrawled on a post-it note tucked in his pocket.

This friend-of-a-friend was old enough and experienced enough to know that he shouldn’t ring her straight away. He knew he shouldn’t look desperate. The only question was how long to wait. After half-dialling her number half a dozen times over six days, he eventually rang her a week after the party. A man answered. A little nonplussed and confused, the friend-of-a-friend asked for her.

There were a few moments of silence.

The man asked his name. He explained. He met her at a party a week ago. She gave him her number. The friend asks if this is her actual number. The man on the end of the line says that it is.

There is another silence.

The friend doesn’t understand. The man on the end of the line sighs heavily. Then he says this:

“She died two days ago. In a car accident. I’m her brother. I’m sorry.”

The friend-of-a-friend could not find any words to say. He hung up.

A few years later he met someone else and, apparently, he’s happy enough. Couple of kids. Managed to find a deposit for a flat somewhere. Married. You know, that sort of thing.

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