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Yes, sorry… I’m just punching my ticket – there are inspectors around.
I’m fine… You OK?
Can you hear me?
Yeh, cos I was just going to tell you how it went last night.
Three, yes, I saw three…

Well to start with, I thought that seven minutes was going to be a bit short. By the time you’ve said hello, where you come from and what you do, that’s it! Though you can get through all that in 30 seconds. But then when you don’t have a clue what else to talk about those seven minutes really drag!

So... what can I tell you? The first one was sweet but a bit too young. And way too unsure of himself! He barely managed to say hello. So, the seven minutes seemed like an eternity, right! The second chatted way too much. I couldn’t get a word in edgeways. The time’s just as painful if you don’t get a chance to speak. I managed to tell him how old I was and my first name and then you get a bit of cheesy music. You know, the Looney Tunes music. And that’s it, you hear it, like a bell, at the end of each ‘date’ meaning it’s time for the guys to change tables.
I’d already clocked the third, the last one, in the hall when we first came in.

You still there?
So, like I said, I spotted him outside. And when I saw him, the only word I could think of was gorgeous, like in BIG letters.

Yeh, hang on, just a sec…
Excuse me. Would you like a seat? Oh, you’re OK? Fine... OK… sorry, sorry...

Yeh, you still there? I just offered my seat to a woman but she told me she wasn’t old enough to be treated like that. Got really annoyed. Ah you could hear it all… No don’t worry, no one can hear me apart from you. Honestly, it’s ok, I’m not talking that loudly! Now I can’t think what I was saying... oh yeh, GORGEOUS Yes, GORGEOUS in big letters. GORGEOUS written in big gold letters!

When he came and sat down at my table, right after the motormouth, I was thrilled but, you know, really nervous, right. He looked straight into my eyes with a nice little smile, while I babbled out the basics: age, name, what I’d studied, what job I’d like… I was even looking down at the table while I was talking if you can believe it for god’s sake. Didn’t have the bottle to look him in the eye. But wait, wait… He let me go on and on and then he said “It’s great that finally I know the name of the girl in the red coat!”

That’s what he said! And then I wondered how on earth he knew that. We’re April now and it’s weeks since I wore my red coat!

He’d already seen me, right! Where? OK. I know. How mad is that? Where? I was about to ask him but he got in first.

“You’re the girl in the red coat. The one who gets off every morning at the hospital bus stop, the one that goes into the back entrance even though it’s not allowed and the one who only punches her ticket if there’s an inspector around.”

Yeh, really! It’s so true, I’m always right by the machine, where there’s a seat behind the driver, you know. So, there’s never a problem - I punch my ticket as soon as I see an inspector coming.

Oh, don’t worry, they’re right at the back of the bus. They can’t hear me!

I’m OK when I face backwards so I don’t get travel sick. Not like you, I know, right! And then if I’m in that seat, no one can sit beside me. People don’t always smell that good and that’s what makes me feel sick. Once there was some teenager who came and sat by me... and let me tell you now I get what Kurt Cobain meant by Teen Spirit.

So yes... on the bus. He saw me on the bus! But I’ve never ever seen him. No, seriously, I’d remember him, he’s gorgeous. No, don’t be silly, of course I didn’t say that. You can really see me saying: “I’ve never seen you. But I’d have remembered because you’re super gorgeous”. It must be because I’ve been obsessed about my training report. Been completely wrapped up with it. That’s why I didn’t notice him. When I’m on the bus, I’m reading or on the phone and am oblivious to everything else. Yeh, except older people when I offer my seat to them and then they get pissed off! Call that professional stress: goes with the job of trainee nurse.
Anyway, going back to what I was saying… the next thing he asked me was if I’d ever finished The Catcher in the Rye. Well he’s right that I’ve lugged it round for long enough on the bus this winter. He said he’d read it and really liked it. So, we talked about the book during the rest of the time before the bell. He got up and winked at me and said “See you around. On the bus or somewhere…”

No! Can you believe it! I realized later in the evening that he’d never said his name. And I’ve got no idea what he does. That speed dating is not very organized. Yes, so now I just wait. I’m supposed to get a text with the numbers of those who want to see me again. The two others. Nah. No interest. But him, I’d like it if he got in touch.

Yes, if I had his number I’d call him for sure. Hey, we’ll see what happens. What would I say? No, I don’t even know where he goes to on the bus. The only thing he said was that he gets that bus every day. Yeh, same route as me.


Oh god... I’ve missed my stop. I’ll let you go, I’ll go and ask the driver how long it’ll be before he sets off again. Mustn’t be too late for work. See ya later.

“Excuse me but I missed my stop and I…”
“I’ll give you my number right away if you want. Don’t look at me like that. It could be worse. I could have been an inspector!”

Translated by Hannah Charlton


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