When Wife and I met over a decade ago – time flies when you’re having fun raising a family – the beginning of our relationship was all a big secret. After all, it was an office romance, and we didn’t want people talking about us, so we kept it all under wraps and during office hours, we acted normal. Nobody suspected anything.
Or so we thought.
Well, had somebody paid attention, maybe, maybe they would have noticed that we often happened to bump into each other in the kitchen, at the coffee machine. Maybe they also noticed that I seemed to be a little funnier than usual, judging by the way Wife laughed at all my jokes.
I am sure there are people who now say they always knew because they saw how I typed an email, and the Wife laughed five seconds later, and then typed an email, and then I laughed. And then I sent her an email.
All. Day. Long.
Not that anybody thought about it twice, but of course our short elevator trips down to the coin museum might have seemed suspicious to an outsider. Or our fairly long lunches.
Of course, with time, we got careless. We left for lunch together, at the same time, instead of leaving with five minute intervals, and using different exits. We showed up at the same subway stop in the morning, even though we officially lived two subway stops apart from each other.
And of course, there were those quick coffee breaks in the middle of the day at the Coffee Cup in Stockholm’s Old Town. We’d sit there, and talk – oh, we’ve talked so much in our 12 years together – and laugh – oh how much we’ve laughed – and talk and laugh.
Most of the times, we’d sit in the back, behind a wall, but with only three tables there, sometimes we’d have to sit by the window, and look out towards the science fiction bookstore across the narrow Old Town street.
That’s where we got busted, too.
Three colleagues had been out to lunch, and they walked by the coffeeshop. Engaged in what looked like an exciting conversation, two of them didn’t see us. But the third one, a young lady, Wife’s friend, saw us. She slowed down a bit, laughed, and pointed her index and middle finger to her own eyes, and then at us, to let us know that she had seen us sit there together.
We might have even been kissing.
And that was the end of that secret love affair.
I recently got an office in the Old Town. Or, I rented a part of an office. More of a desk, really. But one of the main reasons I decided to try this was that the desk was, and is, in the Old Town. This is where my first Swedish office was, this is where Wife and I met, and this just feels like my professional home.
So, on the days that I come here, I often swing by the old coffeeshop. It’s no longer a Coffee Cup, it’s called Espresso House these days, but the setup is still the same: small room in the back, high chairs by the window. These days, I always sit by the window, and I watch people walk by, and I stare at that science fiction book store which is still there.
The other day, I took a photo of the view from the window and made it the desktop image on my computer. So now I can sit at home, open my laptop, and see that weird science fiction book store in front of me. Then I can turn my head, and see Wife.
She’s probably laughing at a joke I’ve just made.