Emerging from the car park, I set off towards our first port of call, the bank – until I realised my other half was striding away in the opposite direction.
“You’re going the wrong way!” I said, running back to catch up with him.
“No, you’re going the wrong way.”
We were both right. There are two branches of ‘our’ bank in town. I assumed we’d save time by going to the one nearest the shops we wanted to visit. He thought it made perfect sense to go to the other one because, although it’s farther away, it’s usually less busy and we might not have to wait so long to be served there. We spent another ten minutes debating the matter.
Next, we went to John Lewis (a large department store). It took a while to find the department we needed – up on the first floor – but not too long to choose and buy the items we wanted.
“Come on, let’s get out of here,” I said, leading the way to the escalator.
I went back down to the ground floor and was halfway to the exit before I noticed something (i.e. someone) was missing. Yes, it was a stupid idea for a store to have two ground floors – upper and lower – and yes, if they’d renamed the lower one ‘the basement’ he wouldn’t have gone down there, but if he’d followed me as instructed we wouldn’t have wasted so much time looking for each other on separate floors!
We managed to stay together in the next shop and then hurried to our last destination, the hardware stall in the indoor market.
Now I admit I might have slowed down a bit as we passed the stall that specialises in exotic fruits and vegetables (wonder what that tastes like?), and I couldn’t help just glancing at the racks of summer dresses, but I swear I only stopped for two seconds by the second-hand books. Annoyingly, that was enough time for my husband to vanish.
He wasn’t at the hardware stall, but the helpful stallholder told me a man fitting my missing husband’s description had been there – and had gone away. I waited there a while in case he came back. He didn’t. I went searching for him, at first systematically going up and down between the stalls from one side of the market to the other, and then in a haphazard fashion hoping he was doing the same and we would somehow bump into each other, which is what happened – eventually.