Hi my dear friends, today we're going to read a short story. Coincidences! I hope you'll like it!
Hola mis queridos amigos, hoy vamos a leer un relato corto. ¡Coincidencias! ¡Espero que os guste!
From: Speak Up magazine.
COINCIDENCES by Rachel Roberts. (When Jenny met Richard on a train, a series of coincidences made their meeting seem predestinated...)
The train came to a stop not long after we left Paddington station. I didn't notice at first because I was on the phone to my new assistant Bethan, carefully going over her instructions one more time. She was very young, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer!
I finished the call and realised we'd stopped moving. Then I heard the announcement. "This is the 15.52 London Paddington to Oxford train. We apologise for the delay to this train which is due to circumstances beyond our control."
I groaned aloud and the man sitting next to me made a similar noise. We looked at each other and smiled.
-You know this is so awesome!" My neighbour had a soft American accent.
-"What? The delay?"
- "No, this coincidence. I just read that exact same announcement in this book; word for word!"
He was holding a Colin Dexter novel about Inspector Morse, an Oxford-based detective. It wasn't that much of a coincidence, but my neighbour had that fun, enthusiastic expression typical of Americans, so I laughed.
-"That's really funny!"
He stretched out his arm and looked at his wristwatch. "Do you think we'll be stuck here long?"
The watch caught my attention. The face showed a picture of Chairman Mao waving to the people. His arm moved to and fro in time to the seconds. I had bought an identical one years ago in Hong Kong. "I have a wristwatch just like that one," I said. "I think they're quite rare."
-"Really?" Again he was happily enthusiastic. "My wife bought this for me in 1997 in Hong Kong. A shop called Shanghai Tang."
-"Yeah? That's where mine came from!" I was glad he'd mentioned his wife. It made me feel more relaxed about talking to him.
-"I wasn't even supposed to be on this train." the American went on. "I wanted to go earlier and now I'll definitely be late for my appointment. My assistant booked it for me and he's hot -what is it you Brits say? - he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer."
I looked at him. That phrase!
I had thought those very words about my own assistant only minutes before. I began to feel intrigued. With a series of coincidences like this, maybe there was a reason for our meeting.
-"I'm an acupuncturist!" I said, wondering if maybe he did the same job.
-"Yeah?" he smiled. "I'm a computer systems analyst." No links there, then. "Oh, and I'm Richard, by the way."
We shook hands. "Really? That's my brother's name. I'm Jennifer, Jenny."
-Nice to meet you." I began to feel inadequate. All the coincidences were coming from him.
-"I don't even know how long it'll take me to get to my appointment from the station," said Richard. "I'm going to the China Centre. It's part of Oxford Univeristy. They're having problems with their new computers."
This was too much. "You're not going to believe this!" said Richard. "You know I'm beginning to think there must be a reason for us meeting!"
Me too. In fact I had thought those very words just seconds previously. "I don't suppose you're staying at the Linton Lodge Hotel, by any chance?"
-"Oh no. I'm going straight back right after the meeting."
Damn! Why did I never come up with any coincidences?
Richard looked a little embarrased. Maybe my mentioning hotels had made it seem like I wanted to meet up later. We fell silent and a few minutes later the train moved off. Richard went out of the window, still wishing I could have found the link between myself and this likeable American.
We arrived in Oxford only 20 minutes behind schedule and walked out of the station together. The front of the building was covered in scaffolding because of renovation work and I helped Richard find the taxi rank. He offered to share a taxi with me. My meeting was much later and I wanted to do some sightseeing first, but I didn't want to let him go. Not yet.
-"Richard, come and have a quick coffee."
His hand was on the door handle of the taxi.He hesitated and checked his Mao watch. "I'm kind of late."
-"Oh, go on. Maybe you have a message for me," I said.
He smiled. "OK, just a couple of minutes."
We walked away from the taxi and some other passengers climbed in. We had just turned around to look for the closest coffee shop, when we heard an immense crash followed by screams and cries of alarm. Spinning round, we saw to our horror that part of the scaffolding had collapsed right on top of the taxi, burying it in twisted metal and brickwork. Things didn't look good for the people inside.
-"Oh my God," said Richard, "if you hadn't stopped me, I'd have been there!" We looked at each other, in shock. "Wow", said Richard, "so that was why we met!"
-NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER: no es un lumbreras.
-TO GROAN: quejarse.
-ALOUD: en voz alta.
-TO AND FRO: de un lado para otro.
-THOSE VERY WORDS: las mismísimas palabras.
-I'M KIND OF LATE: tengo un poco de prisa.
-TO SPIN ROUND: girarse.
-TO COLLPASE: derrumbarse.
-TO BURY: enterrar.
SEE YOU MY FRIENDS!