Today I met the woman of my dreams.
She sat on the steps in front of the National Gallery wearing a woeful look. Her poppy red top stretched alarmingly over breasts that were clearly too large for it, and threatened to spill out, to the lascivious glee of the pack of wolves eyeballing her considerable assets. Her dainty feet were tucked into a pair of snake skin boots, and above it, bewitching nude-coloured stockings beckoned enticingly. Cascades of woven hair fell softly past her shoulders and framed her face delicately.
Occasionally she would raise knowing eyes at the wolves who were salivating over her, and click her tongue impatiently.
It was the height of summer, and tourists had descended on London with such force that merely watching them was a dizzying experience in itself. She was an arresting beauty. In the heaving crowd of moving feet, she stood out like a beanpole, but it wasn't because she was beautiful. It was in the stillness of her lonely figure on the steps amidst the click-clacking of heels, and the vulnerability therein. It left an aching tenderness in me as I watched her, unnoticed, and I felt an almost feral need to wrap my arms around her, and soothe her as one would a skittish colt.
For a brief, precious second, our eyes met. My whole body stilled. And then the moment was over, as her eyes moved past mine in the dismissive way of an uninterested person sizing up the people around her.
She glanced at her watch for the umpteenth time, and stood up. She smiled thinly at the wolves. They bared their fangs in what they hoped was a winning smile in return. It could be that the ground around their feet moistened with their saliva, I can't be sure..
For in that moment I stood transfixed as she took measured steps towards me. As the late afternoon sun caught the golden hue in her weave, I was sure I had never seen an angel lovelier or more mesmerising than this figure coming towards me. I couldn't hear anything beyond the deafening roar of my loudly beating heart.
But something else happened.
She walked past me, and I stood rooted to the ground.
NO, my head screamed. I whipped around and scanned the crowds, eyes moving this way and that, hoping to catch sight of the red top, until I spotted her by the traffic light in the direction of the Houses of Parliament. And as though moving by a force of their own, I felt my feet propel me towards the light.
She moved with a feline grace. There was a haughty set to her shoulders, and a sway to her hips in a manner that indicated that she was used to admiring glances from both men and women, and thus walked slowly so people could look their fill.
I followed hesistantly, not quite sure why I was doing that, except for a burning desire to talk to her.
She walked and walked. Past the Cafe Nero at the junction of Trafalgar Square and The Strand, past the iron gates leading to Downing Street, until she stopped next to the stairs at Westminster Station.
She glanced at her watch again.
I stopped a few paces behind her, not daring to breathe.
Suddenly I saw her shoulders heaving, as though she was shaking with uncontrollable tears, and I couldn't take it anymore. I moved closer and placed comforting hands around her. Her face registered no shock at the sight of a stranger holding her snugly in the middle of the busy street, and it was only then that I saw the mirth in her eyes, as she threw her head back in laughter.
'Do you know you'd make a really crap spy?' She spluttered between gasps.
'You knew I was following you?'
She nodded solemnly. 'Yup. All twenty two minutes of it..'
And then no more words were spoken, as nearby, Big Ben chimed the hour. And continued insistently until...
...my hand snaked along the bed post and silenced the ringing alarm.
I met her. But she was in a dream...