There's a song by The Divine Comedy called Everybody Knows, with the simple lyric ‘everybody know that I love you… except you’. This could definitely be true about my love for Kat, in the office of Atlas Television, in 2005.
Spoiler alert – we are now married, but it took a moment to get there.
We had met in Mercato Mall a few weeks previously, as she was in Dubai after completing a media degree in Australia and was looking for work. She chose Dubai mainly because her motorbike-obsessed Dad had met a roundabout at 180 km/h, and had had a swift romance with a stop sign. To both his, and the stop sign’s eternal credit, he stopped. To this day he has POTS on his chest. She had come to help him convalesce, and to ban him from ever going on two wheels again.
So due to Colin’s motorbike prowess, we were sitting in Mercato. I suggested she contacted Atlas where I was working, and not long later there she was.
Now I'd love to say it was love at first sight. Certainly wasn't for her, and it took a moment for me too. But when I fell, I fell solidly, and there was K in my eyeline day in, day out, bouncing on her yoga ball – and there was Rupert, dribbling, and getting no work done whatsoever.
As productivity plummeted, it was time to ask her out.
Accounts of how I actually did this differ. I'm sure I was a Casanova that asked in a charming, polite way, possibly with a rose-scented missive that was carefully placed on her desk, sealed with a tender kiss and tied with a bow. Or I yelled it across the office like an English megaphone. One of the two.
She asked the rest of the office if they'd like to join. Everyone ‘knew’, and politely declined.
Turns out she had no idea I had just asked her out out. Oops.
Dubai is a city of remarkable five-star resorts that put the rest of the world to shame. Madinat Jumeirah is a truly beautiful place, an idyllic resort of hotels and beach villas, all interlinked with a canal system, traditional Arabic boats called Abras taking guests around the myriad different parts of the complex.
We sat in a restaurant and had a lovely meal watching the boats go by.
“Wow this is a truly perfect date, wow she's beautiful” thought Rupert.
“Oh crap this is a date” thought Kat.
We finish our meal and I ask if she'd like to get on one of the boats, and we're taken around the beautiful complex, breathing in the sea air in the Dubai nighttime. I give her a kiss on the cheek and say goodnight.
“Perfect” thought Rupert
“Shit” thought Kat.
I don't think it was entirely because of me, but she left Dubai not long after that.
There's a bit of a hiatus here. A sad Rupert lost in the mire, whiling away a decade crying into his lonely existence… ahem, well, maybe not, but let’s sum it up by saying a few years and quite a lot of water passed under the Pont Neuf, until finally I arrived in Paris. In 2014.
It's November and I'm living in Montmartre, just a few steps away from the Sacre-Coeur, in the 18th Arrondissement in Paris. It's an awesome little apartment on the corner of Rue Nicolet, just 15 minutes walk to the Gare du Nord, and you could even take a lovely walk to the centre of Paris in 45 minutes.
I checked my Facebook, and saw that Kat, my old friend and colleague, was on the Eurostar, heading my way…