Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Secret Mission. Which Has Nothing To Do With Russia.

I've been trying to catch up on all the WikiLeaks stuff. No wonder Johnny's so reluctant to say the M-word, given what the cables say about life in Russia! Maybe Igor isn't as mad as he seems, either. I shall be nicer to him next time he drops in to the office.

In fact, I shall make that one of my New Year resolutions. Along with saving my marriage and having more sex. Hopefully I can kill both those birds with one stone, but if I can't, I shall have to have a re-think.

Johnny says he's still more than happy to step in to fill the breach - as it were - so I can only assume he's got over his anxiety about what Max's height might signify.

"I just miss romance," I say. "You know, someone who has eyes for no-one else, and who really, really loves you. Like Dr Zhivago loved Lara."

"Well, that film wasn't set in Russia by accident," he says. "It's a lot more romantic than the UK. That's why I'm a better bet if grand gestures are what you're after. I've been here so long, I've practically gone native."

"Well, actually, I think that's where Pasternak set the book," I say. "And, anyway, given that you say you miss romance too, I can't see that there can be much of it in Russia either."

"That's because my Lara is in bloody Northwick," he says. "And won't even travel to Heathrow to reach me, let alone over the Urals in the snow."

Me? Johnny's Lara? Has he been on the vodka? His eyesight must be worse than I thought. I'm a bit dizzy after that, so I pretend I have an important meeting to attend and can't spend any more time talking to him today.

"Email me tomorrow, then," he says. "And think about when we're going to get together for real. If you want to, I might be able to get away for a day or so between Christmas and New Year. As long as flights into the UK aren't grounded by an inch of snow again."

Oh, hell. Now I'm really stressed. If I get in any deeper with Johnny, not only will I probably end up getting deported as a Russian spy, and then being murdered by the Mafia for my connection to Igor, but I don't want to cheat on Max if he isn't cheating on me.

So I seriously need to find out if he is. Trouble is, there's no shortage of candidates since last week's Christmas meal. It's been bad enough trying to work out what's going on with Annoying Ellen, but now there's Bloody Bambi to contend with as well. Who to focus on first?

I can't reach a decision even though I have plenty of time to think about it, given that I spend half of the afternoon sticking stamps on to all the envelopes containing The Boss's Christmas cards, and the other half standing in a queue in the Post Office waiting to buy some more.

If so many of the cards didn't need Airmail stamps, I could have just bought a few books of first-class in Superdrug or somewhere. Not for the first time, I curse Andrew's fondness for overseas jollies. I hate the Post Office - it always smells funny, the lights are permanently set to flicker, and its acoustics are a nightmare.

By the time I escape, it is almost closing time and I have completely gone off - in no particular order - young women with screaming babies; initially-cute toddlers who never seem to tire of knocking over the barriers onto other people's feet; and white youths who speak as if they were black. Not to mention everyone who sells anything via eBay, and eccentric old people trying to remember where they put their shopping lists.

Watching a pensioner searching irritably through her handbag, I suddenly realise how much nicer it is to be thought of as Lara rather than as an grumpy old woman, which seems to be how Max sees me. If he sees me at all.

Just as the thought occurs to me, I spot Max walking past the entrance to the Post Office, and assume that he's on his way home, until I see that he is being accompanied by Bambi. Neither of them have noticed me - no change there, then - so I watch for a moment, dithering, before I take out my mobile and phone Greg.

"Can you lock up tonight?" I say. "I've only just got out of the Post Office and now I'm on an urgent mission."

I wonder if tiptoeing makes you more conspicuous than walking normally when you're stalking someone? It certainly makes you more likely to fall over on icy patches.

God knows when I'll next get a chance to follow Max and see what he's up to, though I must admit that those boys were very kind - even if they did insist on calling each other "bro" and "my man" while helping me to my feet.


  1. Oh do keep up with him Molly! We need to know one way or another.
    Btw - you keep falling over so often we're beginning to suspect the demon drink ;)

  2. I know! Though that would be preferable to the age-related nasty falling-over disease I keep wondering if I have ;-)