Conversant Sleb

She spotted him in the bar at the Soho Theatre whilst waiting for her drink. Their eyes met for a faint moment. He seemed to catch her gaze rather than the other way round. Did she know him? Or had he recognised her from somewhere. Was he a distant relative? Her being the wrong side of thirty, maybe he was thinking, what is aunty ji doing here?

‘There you are!’ said Anne, locating her perched on a stool amongst the Friday night, after-work revellers. Anne gratefully took the stool reserved for her by a scarf and they looked around the crowded bar room. Lina took a sip from the giant glass of house white. Smooth, she thought. The man was now standing a few yards away now and she could see he was at that tipping point between youth and middle-age. Bit of a paunch. So typical of even younger Indians. That steadfast roll above the waist band, just nudging out the fashionable shirt. Perhaps it was getting harder to say no to another beer. A group of women stood around him now, chatting excitedl,y and he was working it. The relaxed banter, I don’t think I’m special, it said.

She did know him, she realised. He was ‘off the telly’ and at some point she had seen him in an improv’ show, in London. She shook her head. What a curse to be conversant in being a bit of a celebrity. The words of that Carly Simon song played in her head.

Lisbon 12
Street Art, Lisbon

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