Bernadette… Bernadette… why can’t I get your name out of my head? The thought swirls around Freddy’s mind every day, through American politics lectures and microeconomics classes. Bernardette…
It’s a whole week after their library flirtation before Freddy glimpses those flowing blonde locks again. This time he’s not in the silent prison of the SSL: he has no excuse for not saying how he feels. This time he’s in the Alternative Tuck Shop.
“Chicken and pesto mayonnaise on white baguette,” Freddy says to the sandwich artist. Whilst this Mozart of fillings works his magic, Freddy spots Bernadette across the fl oor. She is standing with two burly, rugby playing Economics and Management students, wearing Deutsche Bank branded t-shirts. They look thuggish, Freddy thinks, and probably stupid with shrivelled penises.
“Hi there, what are you ordering?” Freddy’s opening gambit is unintentionally brusque. “Err, just a chicken satay baguette. Sorry, do you work here?” Freddy swallows hard, realising that he’s made the classic blunder of presupposing that the object of his infatuation is aware of his pathetic existence.
“No, no…sorry…” He goes red, the same shade as the sundried tomatoes being stuffed into a ciabatta behind him, “I just worked across from you at the SSL once. Thought you might remember me…” His redness bypasses purple and goes to a nauseous green, like the arugula being sprinkled over rye bread. When his traffic lights of embarrassment reach this point, it’s time to go.
The panini wizard hands him his package and Freddy snatches it from his hands, desperate to reach the sanctuary of Holywell Street. He makes it a step out of the door before he hears a voice behind him: “Wait!”
He turns around and sees Bernadette emerging with her chicken satay baguette, which she whirls like a sexy baton. She walks straight up to him confidently. “I’m heading back to the SSL, can I walk with you?” He nods, like a shellshocked village idiot.
“I’m Bernadette, by the way’” she says, looking over at him.
“I know”, he replies, in blissful happiness.