How long does it take to know someone? Is it weeks? Months? Years? Or could it just be minutes or a flash of a glimpse, and you feel you’ve known them all your life? On the other hand, you may spend all your life with somebody and still realise that there are many things that you don’t know. But how much can you know about someone on a drive on M6 from Birmingham to Manchester? When you know nothing about her? And when you haven’t spoken a word? When she wasn’t even in your car? It ought to be nothing, right? But why do I feel like I have found my doppelgänger?
Anna re-read the paragraph written on her blog. This must be the fourth time she read it, and she still feels restless today. It’s somewhat unusual for her lately, as she doesn’t struggle with her emotions like she used to do. But what happened today prompted Anna to do something about it, although she doesn’t know what to do. That’s why she opened her blog that she stopped writing when Alice was born seven years ago. She looked at the time again. It’s only 9:30 pm. But she only managed to write those few lines since 7, and couldn’t think what else to write. She just re-ran this morning’s events in her mind for the 50th time. They are still vivid in her memory…
It started yesterday when her friend Paul, the only big client Anna has got left, called for a meeting in Manchester. Before, she would have taken the train, or send one of the employees. Now there’s only three of them left to finish all the orders, and she had no choice but to drive. Anna likes going for long drives, but with three failed MOTs and no money to replace the car that clocked 380,000 miles, she can’t afford to put much strain on the car. But that’s not all the reasons to she was wary about driving to Manchester.
Her friends say she drives like a man. It wasn’t meant like a compliment; she drives like a dick. Whether it is bumping the car over speed breakers, waving in and out between lanes on busy motorways, leaving the car smelling like a kennel, speeding, tailgating, road rage — Anna does it all. It’s been a long time since her friends stopped coming in her car, and her family followed suit. Anna personally doesn’t like the comparison to men, she thinks it’s female drivers who actually cause problems. But she likes driving her old tin can — what she calls her car — and in her mind, she knows what she’s doing and it’s safe. It’s just she knows that if her car stops working, the business will be pretty much finished as well, and she is very protective about the car. So, when she was called to the meeting in Manchester, she wasn’t overjoyed. But Anna has fond memories of Manchester when she was at the university, and later when she started her business — all big orders were from Manchester through her previous contacts. The friend, who she’s meeting with is also from the uni, and he helped her set the business up nine years ago. So, she thought it would be nice to go back there after nearly a year.
Anna left a bit later than she expected this morning because the childminder was caught up in traffic. Then she realised she hasn’t got enough petrol in the car to go to Manchester and back. Her local garage has the cheapest fuel in Birmingham, so it’s a no-brainer paying 10p more per litre on the services. She bought enough to last the journey and finally set off. She ran through the route in her mind, and couldn’t believe her eyes that she’d make it in 90 minutes. The satnav must be wrong, with all the roadworks going on! She thought she must speed up in the 70mph sections on M6.
Just after M6 merged with the M6 toll, Anna moved to the fourth lane to go past the annoying middle lane hoggers. But just as she pulled out on the fast lane, she noticed that another car just pulled out behind her. And it was closing in behind her car.
“Must be another arsehole tailgater”! Anna thought.
Then she looked at the car and the driver through her rearview mirror. It was a woman, much to her surprise. And a blonde one! Anna thought it must be one of the bullish drivers, who just tailgates to push cars out of their way. She sped up to go past the cars she was overtaking and moved into the third lane, and the car sped past her. And it then moved on to the third lane in front of her. Anna thought the driver must have got some motorway driving etiquette after all, that most people lack. She noticed that the blue Vauxhall in front of her is also a 2004 registration, just like Anna’s. She thought it was a strange coincidence but didn’t pay any more attention. She saw a large gap in the inside lane and swerved onto that lane. She must make use of any small gains she can make to get to the destination quicker.
It was one of Anna’s rules. She followed them strictly while driving. Any gap she saw, she moved in there, no matter which lane it was in. After all, if slower cars stayed in inside lanes, there wouldn’t be any gaps. She also limits the speed to 73mph, apart from short bursts of acceleration when she needs to go past somebody. She always signals, checks her mirrors, lets faster cars pass by. That’s why she can’t agree with her friends that she’s a reckless driver. Anna thinks that’s just good and sensible driving, to get from point a to point b in the least time. She was proud of her rules and hardly deviated from them.
As she was going past junction 12 at Cannock in the first lane, cutting under a long array of lorries and cars, she was quite pleased that her manoeuvre had worked. Sometimes she’d go past a lot of cars but then sit behind a slow one on the first lane while the slower cars on the outside lane would gradually go past her. It paid off this time, and Anna was right. After she went past the long line of trucks, she was suddenly looking at unobstructed four lanes ahead and stayed on the first lane keeping at 73mph. But just as she was going past the slip road that merges with the motorway, she noticed the blue car again; it came behind her, went past her using the second lane, and pulled in front of her on the first lane as it gradually sped off.
This time Anna was impressed. She generally comes across two types of motorists. One, who drives at 65mph in the second lane even on an empty motorway, or two, the types who stay on the outer lane, and at times go past other cars using the inside lanes or tailgating them. And there is a third type, middle-aged women in 4x4s, but they mostly stay out of motorways. She rarely saw drivers who were comfortable manoeuvring the car in all lanes and maintain the speed. Anna thought she was special, and now she just witnessed someone else doing that.
“Looks like she’s using my rules, this is mental”! She thought.
Given her prejudice against female drivers in general, she was even more pleased to see someone who drove just like her. When she first noticed the blue car behind her, she knew straight away who it was, and as the car went past her, she tried to get a closer look at the driver. She couldn’t notice much, other than she was wearing a black and white striped top and trousers. While the car was speeding away, she thought it must be driving at 75-76mph. Then the car went out of Anna’s sight into the maze of cars ahead of her. She thought that the other driver was impressive, but the speed the other car was going at, she wouldn’t see it again.
But then she saw the roadworks ahead sign, and the 50mph speed limit zone started. Anna moved out into the outside lane to drive at 58mph, another of her rules to drive within legal limits without risking getting flashed. She couldn’t see what lay ahead of her because of a large X6 in front of her, but she slightly pulled out towards the crash barrier to have a look and saw the Corsa about 5-6 cars ahead. Anna suddenly felt a sense of rivalry.
“Let’s see how she drives in roadworks, can she drive like me here?” Anna wondered.
She generally goes past most of the cars ahead on roadworks. Anna knew from experience that people leave gaps ahead of them and she can use those gaps to maintain her speed by moving between lanes when needed. After going past a few cars and trucks, Anna was in the third lane, and she went past two large cars and moved back to the outside lane. The blue car was only three cars ahead of Anna. Just as she was planning her next move, the blue car spotted a long gap in the first lane and quickly gone there from the outside lane. Where Anna was, she couldn’t do the same, but she suddenly thought that the driver drives just like her, except a bit faster on empty lanes. Anna got her share of luck and found that a car was doing 50mph, and there was a large gap ahead. As she pulled out in the fourth lane, she pressed the pedal to 58mph and looked out for the Corsa. It was still ahead of her, changing between first and second lanes. And then, suddenly the speed limit was finished. Anna sped up to 73mph but soon found that the blue car moved lanes as well and was just in front of her. She read the number plate and read it over and over in her mind. The car now was in the second lane as all the lanes had empty spaces ahead, and as it was going past a lorry, Anna thought she knew what the driver would do next.
“She’s going to the first lane now. I can bet on it!”.
And Anna was right. The car did move to the left lane, sped off in the gap ahead up to a truck, then moved to the second lane again. Because Anna was going at a slightly slower speed, it wasn’t possible for her to do the same thing, and she stayed on the third lane, maintaining her speed. She saw the blue Corsa was in the outside lane again, ahead of quite a few cars. She felt a bit frustrated that she couldn’t catch up with the car as she planned. But there was another length of roadworks ahead, and it was Anna’s turn that time.
As she kept the speed to 58mph, all cars ahead of her in the fourth lane moved about the same pace, and after a while, Anna noticed that she was going past the blue car on the third lane, unable to change lanes. She looked at the driver again. She noticed she wore glasses. She wasn’t sure she remembered what the woman looked like, nor she knew why she wanted to know anyway. She thought she wanted to see the woman who drives so much like her that she could almost read her mind. Anna must put a face to the person, more than just the glasses and striped top. She continued to drive slightly ahead of the blue car, not letting it move in the next lane but making a plan to get the car behind her. She kept the same speed until there was a big gap ahead, and then accelerated, leaving room for the blue car to move in. It worked! Anna was thinking what if the car behind her sped as well, but she was pleased to see that the blue car was behind her. Anna slowed down again and looked in the rearview mirror. The mysterious driver looked in the early forties. Anna wasn’t sure if she liked how she looked. She couldn’t see very well because it was overcast, despite the good weather forecast this week in May. As Anna kept looking in the mirror, she didn’t realise the 50mph limit had finished, and there was a gap in the third lane until the blue car went in that lane and sped past Anna, and back on the outside lane. Anna pushed the pedal, but the blue car was away again.
“I can’t let her get away again!”, Anna thought.
She thought that when someone is playing exactly by her rules and is still ahead of her, she must change her rules as well. The only factor that separates them was their speed, and Anna put some more gas on. She was about a 100 metres behind the blue car and the gap wasn’t increasing, as Anna’s car was doing 77mph. She could now guess what the blue car would do next, and it followed exactly the same pattern as she predicted. On the inside lane when nothing was ahead, then to the second, the wherever the next gap was. The blue car didn’t drop speed, nor did Anna this time. They were almost driving in sync. She did wonder if the woman realised that Anna was following her.
“What if I did!” She thought, “it’s a free country”.
They went into another short span of roadworks near Stoke. Anna was confident that no matter what happened, they won’t be far off as both of them drive faster than 50mph, and moved between lanes. The blue car went out of Anna’s sight, but this time, she wasn’t bothered. She focussed on the other things on the day ahead. About her meeting. Wondering whether she’d get the order to supply her lingeries to the boutique shop at Intu Trafford Center. That would bring some cash in the business she’s desperate for. She might call back one of the part-timers she had to lay off a few months back. And she realised that she’s hungry. She didn’t have breakfast in a rush, but if the satnav is right, she should have some time to eat something. Eating nice food is a luxury these days, but she’d feel guilty about Alice and perhaps will pack half of it home.
While Anna had these random thoughts, she went past the limited speed zone and looked for the Corsa. She couldn’t see it ahead of her, so she moved to the empty inside lane, waiting for it to appear. She looked more at her mirror than the road ahead. Then, she saw the car emerge between two trucks behind her, and it sped past her again. The car went so fast that Anna didn’t even get a chance to look at the driver again. Anna was getting restless by then, but she didn’t know why. Fair enough, she found someone who drives like her, and she can prompt every move that woman will make and Anna was right every time. But that’s not enough reason to feel so desperate to look at her.
She pressed the pedal down back to 77mph and stayed right behind the blue car. She could see that the driver looked at her a couple of times through her rearview mirror, but Anna wasn’t worried about that. She tried to look at the driver through the mirror but it wasn’t good enough. Besides, the weather was still overcast and it was hard to see through the glass. Anna thought she must be in front of the car if she wants to look at the driver. She stayed on the fourth lane while the blue Corsa moved to the third lane. They were approaching a long stretch of roadworks. Anna went past the car and without thinking, she just stared through her side window while overtaking the other car very slowly. She thought again the woman was in her early forties, she must be quite tall because her elbows seemed under the window level and she was sitting quite farther back from the steering wheel. She wasn’t wearing any makeup and Anna could see the acne on her right cheek. The glasses were of metallic frame, and Anna thought it suited her thin, long face. She didn’t have any jewellery on other than a thin golden chain. Her clothes didn’t look expensive, but why else would she drive a 04 plate car in 2018! The woman looked at Anna staring at her and looked quite bewildered.
“Perhaps she thinks I’m egging her on for a race”. Anna thought. But the woman looked uninterested.
As Anna went completely past the blue Corsa, she had an urge to keep driving next to the car and look at the mystery woman again. They were already in the roadworks zone, and Anna saw the blue car inching past her in the inside lane again. Anna stared at her shamelessly. This time the woman looked at her, and her gaze stayed on Anna more than a second. It felt as if she was trying to figure out why Anna was ogling her. She pulled out a wry smile on her face and a small nod to the woman in the blue Corsa. The woman didn’t know how to react and turned her head and drove on.
Anna could have moved behind her but she wanted to be in front of the blue car. So, she accelerated to tailgate the car in front instead. She usually doesn’t tailgate anymore these days, but she was getting desperate not knowing which junction the other woman was getting off. It paid off for Anna by pressing the car in front. The car pulled in front of the blue car and Anna went past the two and moved into the third lane. She sped forward a bit, leaving a gap behind her and the car she overtook. That was her bait ready, and she was waiting for the Corsa to fall into Anna’s cunning trap. She knew it would. Anna would have done the same. And so she did, the driver of the Corsa. She went past the car in front of her taking the outside lane, and moved into the third lane, right behind Anna.
Anna let her foot off the gas slightly, so she was still doing above the speed limit, but slow enough for the blue car to stay in the lane. Anna was helped by some faster-moving cars in the fourth lane. So her driving-alter-ego had nowhere to go but stay behind Anna. Anna was pleased to see her little plan work. It was time to have a look at the driver again. It was not as close as it would have been if they drove side by side, but that would look weird.
Just as Anna looked in her rearview mirror, the cloud cover just disappeared and a beaming summer sunlight shone on them. If felt as if a spotlight was set on the car behind for Anna. A long time ago when she was at the uni, Anna read a book that said something like if you really want someone, the whole universe conspires for your dreams to fulfil. Anna couldn’t help but remember the line, that everything she wanted wash turning in her favour after a long wait. Anna looked on, and the blonde hair that looked quite drab before was shining, in fact glowing, in the sun. The woman raised her right hand to run through her hair. Her hair looked slightly frizzy or it might be a mild curl. Now that the sun is out, Anna could see her face and she suddenly thought despite her ordinary outlook, the woman was pretty attractive. On the same breath, without even realising it, Anna thought it’s been nearly six months she had sex.
She felt a bit embarrassed thinking about sex while she was looking at a stranger, but she didn’t know why. All her past sexual encounters in last five years were with strangers on occasional nights out. After separating with Alice’s dad, she thought she had been messed up enough by men and decided to raise Alice on her own. She just needed men from time to time, but hardly any went past a one night stand. As Alice got older, Anna had less time to go out with her mates, and she didn’t believe in online dating and chatting. She was more interested in diversifying her lingerie business then, although that was just a disaster, leaving Anna to shrink her original business to survive. She had to sell her house in Solihull and move to a flat in Nechells to pay off the loans. And her cars. Like in a sinking ship, Anna threw all her energy, money and time to salvage the business. No wonder she didn’t have much human interaction, especially with men, as she had grown a natural distrust for them.
Brushing aside her thoughts about sex, Anna looked at the driver again, through Anna’s mirror. But she knew that once a thought struck her mind, that’s going to bug her the whole day. She saw the woman in the blue car has a habit of running her hand through her hair often. Anna thought the woman looked at her as well, straight into Anna’s mirror.
“Shit, has she guessed anything?”She wondered.
But she was more interested in looking at the woman through her mirror. It was like a guilty pleasure. Thanks to the bright sunshine, Anna can see most features of the face, but she thought it wasn’t as good as looking at someone right in front of her. She could notice that the woman had thin lips. As a natural reflex, Anna pulled out her sunshade makeup mirror and looked at herself. She was dressed to impress, and tried to get herself ready this morning as much as she could. She almost started to scrutinise how she saw herself. Her dark red lip colour covering the bite marks and cracks, dark circles neatly masked by layers of foundation, the grey eyebrows neatly plucked away. Despite all that effort, she couldn’t hide away the wrinkles appearing on the sides of her eyes, and on her forehead. She looked in the mirror again, and looked aside to the rearview mirror to see the driver in blue Corsa and thought that despite nearly ten years between them, they have many similar features.
“Gosh, how I’m gonna look like when I’m her age”!
The outside lane was full of faster moving cars, and reckless white vans. That ensured that the blue car can’t go anywhere. Anna started to wonder what was next. What if the woman is going to exit M6 before she did? What if Anna has to leave first? The woman messed with her hair again. Looking at her doing that, Anna suddenly had a vision of the woman posing with her back towards Anna, with nothing on but a pair of light grey thongs Anna designed for the meeting. The room had Venetian windows and thin bars of sunlight filtered through on to her back. The woman’s back was covered in black and red spots, skin tags and had a slightly darker tone than her face. Anna tried to shake the picture out of her mind. She looked at the makeup mirror again but could look into her own eyes. She snapped the mirror shut and pushed the sunshade up.
The roadworks section seemed to be endless and it felt as if it was their destiny to stay one behind another for eternity. Anna was slightly annoyed at herself for not focusing on the meeting and her business, for which she sacrificed last nine years. She chose what she wanted the most in her life, and partners didn’t have a place in that vision. And now she was letting herself fancy a random middle-aged woman whom she knew nothing about. She wanted to move to another lane so she didn’t have to look at her. She moved behind a truck on the second lane and then to the first. It was a slightly dangerous manoeuvre because she just pulled in from of another truck and got flashed and beeped at. She didn’t care. After a minute of driving on, Anna thought it was really foolish of her. After all, that little fling wouldn’t have gone anywhere, it’d end when one of them goes off the M6. But there was no going back because she was stuck to 48mph and the cars were moving faster on the next lane. Anna felt the urge to be back on the lane she were, or drive next to the woman. But to her surprise, the blue car emerged behind her. Anna was confused but pleased to see it again. But she couldn’t fathom out the reason why that car would move to a slow moving lane without a purpose. She thought it’s either because the other woman now wanted to stalk her, or because she’s getting off the next exit.
“As much as I wanted the first to be true, it ain’t that”
Anna deduced the reason in her mind. And that suddenly filled her with a bit of anxiety and sadness. What would she do? Would she come off the junction as well? She knew nothing about Knutsford. What if she gets held up in traffic? She couldn’t afford to miss the meeting. But she felt that she was almost ready to get off the motorway as well. The blue car started indicating as Anna went past the 300 yard marker for the exit. In her mind Anna knew that she was going to Manchester, but as if she was waiting for her hands to defy that chain of command and indicate exit. She slowed further down for the coming 200 yards just so that she could see the woman one last time before the blue car reached the exit and sped off the exit. By the time they were parallel again, the blue car was on exit slip road and quite high up. Anna looked at the driver window and saw that the woman was looking back as well.
Then they went out of each other’s sight. At first, Anna felt nothing. She looked at the time and found that she was doing okay to get there by 9:30. As she was going past the entry slip road, she looked on her left, almost expecting the blue car to have played a prank of going off and joining back on. There were no cars coming on to M6. Anna suddenly felt a feeling of loss, almost like a lost opportunity. It’s true that the other woman and Anna are complete strangers, and they may have nothing in common with them except the way they drove. But then, Anna thought, that the way one drives, shows their outlook towards life. How predictable the other driver was, there could have been more similarities between them. It could have been a fresh start of her love life. Then she thought, all these thoughts are coming from her infatuation and lack of sex. She must go out on the coming weekend. And the scene with the woman in Anna’s lingerie flashed in her mind again.
For the rest of the route, Anna spent in a trance. She couldn’t decide whether she was really interested in that woman or it was just a fancy. Then she was engrossed in finding out what was going on the route as she was driving on agricultural land according to the satnav but she was actually on a newly built dual carriageway. She relived her memories of the past of driving to Manchester from Solihull on Mondays. But the woman with strips of sunlight on her bare back kept messing up with her mind.
After reaching Manchester, Anna nearly forgot about the morning. She couldn’t believe how the place has changed. She had a flashback of her old self when she was at the uni — big dreams, pubs every evening, bistros by the canal, theatres, gigs. Life has changed beyond belief in last ten years. She wondered if she’d have that vibrant life back, but this time with Alice in it. She knew the answer already and that brought her back to present. She went into the meeting slightly distracted. It’s a small business, but she started it from scratch and knows everything she can offer, prices that she can accept, delivery times she can commit to. She always had all details and didn’t have to go back to do the numbers. The meeting brought some fresh breath of air in her life. The client liked the designs and decided to add them to their product line for the shop in Trafford Centre. It’ll be a trial for three months and based on numbers, but even three months would be nice and after setting all the money aside, she might book a holiday with Alice. During all these thoughts, however, Anna kept seeing the woman in the blue Corsa, messing with her hair, or looking at Anna curiously. And after the negotiations, when her client had to go away and discuss the prices, Anna dozed off for a moment, and is that split second, she saw the woman in a black fishnet leotard. She woke up with a start, and couldn’t remember for a minute where she was.
After the meeting, she went for a drink with Paul. Normally she stays for a few drinks but she was in a hurry. She headed back home at 4 pm.
“What if the woman returns by M6 today?”, that was the only question circling inside Anna’s mind.
She was full of hope again. She didn’t know what she’d do if she saw the woman again. Perhaps nothing, but just drive parallel or in front of each other. Does she even live in Birmingham? What if she was returning to Knutsford rather than driving there? Anna felt slightly guilty that she’s not thinking about her business when she just doubled her present order volume. She was thinking about the stranger, and she didn’t know the nature of her feelings. Is it love, or just friendship? Or is it an obsession? Is it her love for her own self and the feelings Anna is having is because she seemed so familiar? What if they met again, in a situation where they can talk, what would Anna say to her?
She reached Knutsford around 5 pm. Unlike the murky morning, the afternoon was sunny and warm, enough to make one sleepy. As Anna was approaching the exit slip road, she had another vision of the woman wearing the grey lingerie Anna presented during her meeting. But that time, she was sitting slightly turned towards Anna and Anna could see the outline of her left breast, small and sagged, with strips of sunlight on it and all across her back. Anna felt quite turned on, but she didn’t know whether it was due to her attraction towards the woman or just her craving for sex. She looked on the entry slip road, and couldn’t see any sign of the blue Corsa. She felt disappointed but decided to drive faster for the rest of the route, in case the woman was indeed returning and Anna can catch up with her.
She drove like she used to drive a few years earlier. She was reckless, moving in and out of lanes but dangerously, and she sped beyond the speeds she knew wouldn’t get her a ticket. Anna tried not to think much about the woman from the morning, but she felt that her anxiety is getting worse again. She felt almost breathless, waiting for a sign of the car to appear somewhere on the horizon. Closer she went to Birmingham, she felt more and more desperate, not being able to decide whether to speed up or slow down. By the time she reached spaghetti junction, it was 6 pm. Anna felt gutted but the good news about the business stopped her hitting the rock bottom. She was back in her street in Nechells in five minutes. The trip to Manchester was over, although Anna wasn’t overjoyed.
When the childminder Jane saw her at the front door, she looked horrified looking at Anna.
“Oh dear, Anna, you’re bleeding again!”
“OH Fuck!… Is it bad?”
“All over your clothes, bab.”
“OH Fuck!… Is it bad?”
“All over your clothes, bab.”
Anna touched her nose and saw her fingers are covered in blood. She copes with her anxiety well, but at times when it gets out of hand, she gets the nosebleed. Anna is used to it, her GP said it’s not unusual. It was a lot worse when she was splitting up with Alice’s dad five years back. She looked down and her clothes were stained with blood. She was embarrassed at herself and angry as well, knowing what caused it. Jane let Anna use her toilet to get cleaned, and gave her pads of cotton to stop the bleeding. Alice understands now that Anna gets the nosebleed at times, so she didn’t need to explain or calm her down.
Alice was tired and she went to bed at 7pm as usual. Anna had a chat with her before she went to her room about the day, and told about hers. She didn’t mention anything about the car. Since then, Anna just sat in front of her computer. She managed to write just one paragraph, and the more she tried to rein her thoughts, the wilder they became. She decided to take a break and get her clothes cleaned. She was annoyed about the bleed. Not only did she fail to realise it was happening, she will now have to make sure that she removed the stains. She hasn’t got many businesswear left, the rest are all larger sizes. Anna’s friends are jealous about her size but she knows that she felt better before, and she didn’t really want to lose all the weight. She took her clothes off and applied some stain remover on them. She looked herself in the mirror. It felt as if she was looking at the other woman in the car. As she took her makeup off, she thought she looked older than she is. She made promises to herself that she’d take more care of herself but after a few weeks, it was back to square one. She did wonder why younger mums at Alice’s school don’t speak to her. A few years later perhaps even Alice wouldn’t let Anna drop her to school.
As she stood there in front of the mirror, naked, she suddenly thought if that woman was just an imagination, she was actually looking at herself a few years ahead. Well, the hair was different but she can colour her ginger hair to blonde and let it grow longer. It seemed that they were about the same height. She turned to her side and remembered the vision she had on the way back to the woman. Anna’s breasts look the same size as the other woman. She looked at herself again in the mirror. Is she attractive? Can she still pull? She didn’t have any problem last time; it’s just the last time was a long time ago. Has she got a few more lines on her face? Does she look frail now? She could see her rib cage, which isn’t a good sign. She could never see her rib cage before. And her hip bones. Anna wondered if she kept changing so rapidly, in a few years’ time, will she still find people on nights out? Or should she hurry up?
Anna made her mind up. She had a quick shower. It made her feel refreshed again, and Anna felt she doesn’t feel so agitated now. Draped in towel, she sat down with her laptop. She must start acting on her plan. The outcome of what she’s planning is uncertain but she never worried about uncertainty. If she could handle it in her business, so can she in her life. Anna saved her blog for another day and opened a search page. She typed the registration number of the car. KC04 AKE. The spinning wheel of death is taking a long time to load the page. She needs to find out if she can get any more detail on the Corsa. The results are finally loaded. Anna clicked on one of the links from DVLA and it opened. The car is indeed a blue petrol Corsa. She was relieved that she wasn’t imagining about this morning. The woman was real. Probably Anna’s dreams will be as well. One day she’ll meet her alter-ego face to face, not through car windows. She looked at the other links. One of them must have details of the owner. If search results don’t reveal anything, there is photo search, forums to ask in, report DVLA about an accident. There will be ways. It can take as long as it takes. Anna can wait a few years, at least. She will just have to be patient and wait for the universe to conspire to bring them together. The future isn’t looking so bleak after all.
Of all the significant years in my life, 2008 must be the one of them, along with 1994, 2011 and 2014. 2008 was all about change. My life was about to take a new direction, and it certainly was a mad rush trying to get ready for an educational break, a busy job and spending all weekend learning German. 10 years on, my German is schlecht now, and there’s no time to start from where I left. Found this letter, supposed to be about a day out when I showed a few places in Calcutta to a German tourist couple. It was interesting finding out how much they knew about Calcutta (Didn’t know about the Lonely Planet guides then!). If you read German, you’ll see that I had only learnt up to past tense. It was a surprising find in one of my old notebooks…
Wie geht es dir? Jetzt schreibe ich den ersten Brief zu dir. Nächstes mal musst du mir einen schreiben. Jetzt kann ich nicht einen Thema finden, deshalb schreibe ich über meinen Erfahrungen am letzten Samstag.
Da bin ich aufgeweckt um 5 Uhr, damit ich um 6 Uhr zum Flughafen fahren konnte. Ich hatte schon einen schlechten Kopfschmerzen. Ich hatte ein deutsches Paar getroffen, und schon eine Begegnung um 10:15 Uhr vor das indischen Museum fixiert habe. Aber alle schlechten Sachen fande zusammen Statt. Der Flugzeug kam 30 Minuten spät. Dann bin die Taxi von Calcutta Flughafen sehr langsam gefahren, und habe ich zum Haus punkt um 10 Uhr erreicht. Ich habe mich rasiert, habe mich angezogen und dann bin ich unter 10 Minuten hinausgegangen. Endlich hatte ich etwas Glück, weil ich schnell einen Taxi gefunden habe.
Also, war ich nicht so spät, außerdem sagte mir der Mann vorher, dass sie mir erwarten werden bis zum 10:30Uhr. Dort fande ich ihnen, unter den Eingang des Museums, beides Gesetzen auf einer Stühle. Wir haben uns vorgestellt und dann sagte ich ihnen “Wohin möchtet ihr gehen?” Du weißt, als hatte ich kaum Zeit, mochte ich sie um Victoria Memorial und Indisches Museum anzeigen. Aber erstaunlich sagte die Frau, dass sie mochte Kumartuli sehen. Da wurde ich total krank. Ich kaufte die Fahrscheinen bis zum Shovabazar. Das war eures ersten Erlebnis über Calcutta U-Bahn. Während unseres Trip diskutierten wir über verschiedenen Thema, Die Politik, Das Leben des Bengalens, Die bengalische Philosophie usw. Seit 25 Jahre wohne ich im Calcutta, aber war ich nie zum Kumartuli gegangen. Die Gasse waren kurz, aber die Häuser an Beides Seite sind alt und zu groß. Endlich erreichten wir das Studio eines Künstlers. Dort gab es viele großen Statuen der Durga. Fragtet ihr mir viele Fragen über die Religion und Gott. Ich wusste nicht viel aber konnte ihnen beantworten.
Dann sagte der Mann,”Wir möchten zum Fluss gehen”. Während liefen wir durch die kleine Gasse, sahen wir viele schönen und großen Häusern, die vorher einhundert Jahren gebaut wurden. An dem Ufer des Ganges sahen wir ein sehr großes sechsstöckiges Haus. Der Fluss sah aber sehr schmutzig aus, gab es Pflanze in dem Wasser, das total Gelb war. Nachdem gingen wir zum Shovabazar Fährhof. Wir standen auf der Kurzer Brucke, wenn Conny, die Frau sah ein Boot kommen. Sie möchten mir kaffeetrinken einzuladen, aber zu bootfahren auch. Da plante ich im Boot nach Howrah gehen und dann mit dem Bus zum Indian Coffee House fahren. Es war schon nachmittags. Und die Frau war krank vor 4 Tagen. Die Sonne war es nicht da, aber die Hitze war sehr ärgerlich. Trotzdem hatten wir viel genossen, ein Bootsfahrt zu machen. Es war schön, die zwei Ufern. Ich zog ihnen die “Ghats” an. Dann waren wir von Howrah Bahnhof mit einem Stadtbus nach College street gefahren, damit bei Indische Kaffee Haus zu besuchen. Sie waren erstaunt : so viele Bücher und so viele Geschäfte!
Aber da, fühlte ich mich nicht so wohl. Treffen einem deutsches Paar, für mich, war eine Gelegenheit, in Deutsch zu diskutieren. Ich spreche nicht so gut im Klass, da wünschte ich, wie schön wäre es, wenn ich wie ihnen deutsch sprechen könnte. Aber sie sprachen immer Englisch!!!Nur wenn Sie die Bedeutung nicht verstehen konnten, fragten sie mir in Deutsch!!! Dann sagte ich mich : da geht nicht mehr! Punkt wir waren wir in die Cafe eingegangen, sagte ich “vielleicht konnen wir in Deutsch sprechen, um uns etwas besserer kennenzulernen”. Dort gab es viele Leute, und der Platz war sehr laut, deshalb müssten wir auch laut sprechen. Wenn der Ober nie kommt schnell, hatten wir viele Sachen diskutiert. Wir aßen Tomatensuppe und tranken Kaffee mit Creme. Dort hatten wir gute Zeit verbrachten. Dann gingen wir nach Millennium Park. Die Frau fühlte sich unbequem, und sind wir schnell in die Park erreichten.
Dort hatten wir über zwei Stunden verbrachten. Wir hatten ein Platz gefunden, die vor dem Fluss stand. Es gab Luft, das macht uns etwas bequem. Wir diskutierten über die Religion, Calcutta, die Volkskultur, die Geschichte des Calcuttas, indische Wirtschaft, die Politik, Glauben des Inders und Deutsches, meine Gedanken über Zukunft, ihre Plan usw. Ich habe viele Tatsache über Deutschland gelernt, die ich sonst nicht wissen könnte. Plötzlich sah ich die Uhr an, und es war schon 16 Uhr. Schnell hatte ich mich entschuldigen und zum MMB führte.
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