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A friendly smile or hello 0

Dear Bradshaw,

            I thought I’d already told you how Francesca and I met. You must have forgotten, or else I’m senile, or an idiot, or all three. Anyway, here’s the story, and I apologize if it’s long.

            Francesca used to work at Pfizer and, at the time, I was teaching her boss English once or twice a week. Francesca and I occasionally passed each other in the hallway when I came and left but a friendly smile or hello was the extent of our conversation.

            I worked and still work at a private school. We have two sites: the first is near the train station (where I work 99% of the time), and the second is about two miles from my apartment. One Saturday, I finished working at 2pm instead of the usual 3pm, a rare occasion, and also, being at the second school (a rarer occasion), I decided to walk home instead of taking the subway. While heading along the main avenue and crossing a small perpendicular street, I was suddenly face-to-face with Francesca. She’d been walking in the opposite direction, had stopped right in front of me, and then asked if I knew who she was.

            “Of course,” I said. “You work at Pfizer.”

            She asked me where I was going, and as the conversation continued right there in the middle of the street, I wondered, How long can this go on before one of us suggests moving to the curb? Two minutes later, a car came and honked at us, and Francesca asked if I’d like a coffee.

            As it turned out, on weekends she was taking (and still takes) courses in naturopathy, homeopathy, Chinese and Indian medicine, Shiatzu massage and other stuff. She’d been on her lunch break and had to return to class, so after the coffee I accompanied her. Before parting, I said I’d stop by her office sometime, and since she seemed enthusiastic, I did so the following week. We went for a coffee at a place near her office, and while there I asked for her phone number. She wrote it down on a scrap of paper, and the following Friday I sent her a text message asking if she was free the following evening. The reply was in Italian and, basically, said, “Up yours!”

            I was shocked and confused, and sent another message, saying it was Scott (I had forgotten to mention my name in the first message), the guy she’d bumped into on the street the week before. The second text went unanswered and I was unsure if she wasn’t interested or perhaps had decided I was a loser because I’d sent a text message instead of calling directly.

            I stopped by her office again the following week, and when she saw me she seemed glad. We talked for a few minutes and then I mentioned the fact that I’d sent her a message. She insisted I hadn’t and, to prove it, I showed her the saved message on my phone. Seeing the phone number at the end of the message, she pointed to one of the numbers, a two, and said, “That should be an eight.”

            The rest is history, and the wedding is next month.

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