• rachealjosephpoet

First Meeting

I have always dismissed social networking sites as something for "young people." Personally I have never felt the need to post pictures of myself, especially when intoxicated, on the internet. Nor do I wish to share with the world that I twisted my ankle. Line dancing in the over fifties keep-fit class.

However two weeks ago, during a moment of shear and utter boredom, I signed up to Facebook. It was brilliant. There I was in cold damp South-East London making contact with long lost relatives in the Caribbean. Within days of catching up with family news, my aunt told me about Mark. I was curios and agreed to be introduced.

Mark made contact through the chat facility on the site. Not the best way to communicate and it did not take him long to realise I was struggling with it.

'We could talk on the phone,' he typed 'might be easier.'

I questioned whether it was wise to give my number to a stranger on the internet, but what the hell, I decided to go for it.

We talked for two hours without pausing for breath. We shared our entire life history. He told me he was a single father with a three year son. I told him I was a mother of two grown up children. There was an instant connection. We arranged to meet.

So here I am in the Royal Festival Hall cafe staring out of the window. Waiting for a man I should have met years ago. I scan the crowds milling about the Southbank. Will I recognise him? I have seen his profile photo several times. I'm not confident I could pick him out in this crowd. My hands are shaking. I clutch my disposable coffee cup as tight as I dare. What if he is not as nice as he sounds? My eyes are darting all over the place. There are too many people. I wish they would all just get out of the way. I feel sick. Is that him? He's holding the hand of a child. The child is wearing a hat I recognise from one of the photo's on Mark's Timeline.

I move closer to the window and wave, trying not to look too desperate. I catch his attention and he waves back. My heart is pounding frantically. What do I say? What do I do? I'm speechless as they come through the door. Do I hug him or just shake hands? As we get closer he reaches out to me.

'Hello big sister,' he says and kisses me on both cheeks, 'nice to meet you at last.'


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