He had fine bone structure and an English accent. I put him a little short of his 40th birthday.
He waved a pair of sunglasses from his pocket.
“I’m so sorry to be rude,” he said, putting them on and obscuring half of his face, “but the sun is blinding me.”
“Not at all.” I said.
He was an IT teacher, a former diving instructor and the partner of a Swiss diplomat. Now he was learning German at a language school. It was difficult. He was a science and maths person.
We talked about teaching and travelling. He had a boyish wonder about him, a kind of naivety. He was softly spoken. He was kind. He had seen me alone and sat down beside me.
A lady came up to us. “Rupert!” she said. “I was trying to call you.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said.
He turned to me. “Apologies, I don’t know your name.”
“Kate, this is Georgia,” he said.
Georgia was dark, attractive, with black curly hair. Later, she told us that she was 43.
She was intelligent, expressive, sharp. She watched people carefully as she spoke to them.
The conversation meandered.
And came to sperm donation.
“You know, there was a story in The Spiegel a while ago about a Dutch serial sperm donator,” said Rupert.
“I edited it,” I said.
“You did? How funny!” said Georgia.
The man in question had fathered eighty-two children and ten more were on their way.
He didn’t just deliver his sperm in a container. He catered for women who wanted to conceive the natural way. He visited them, they made him dinner and paid for his transport and then they went to it. There were good and bad experiences. But really, he just wanted to make them happy.
“He wasn’t a looker,” said Rupert, “but by the sounds of it, he was at least of average intelligence.”
“Ha!” said Georgia.
“I have so many beautiful, successful friends in their late thirties,” Rupert went on. “And they’re all single.”
“But where do you meet men?” asked Georgia. “I mean… I’ve been with my husband for twenty years so it’s been a while since I’ve dated, but isn’t it hard to meet people?”
She turned to me.
“What’s your situation? I mean, are you single?”
“No,” I said. “but for me it was very simple really. I met my boyfriend in the university library.”
“Yeah, that’s easy,” she said.
Then Rupert told us the story about how he had met his partner.
“I was a diving instructor in Crete. And I know what you’re thinking… She was not my student.”
She was on holiday with her girlfriends. But what she didn’t know was that this was a “singles holiday.” She had brought a pile of books to read, but her friends said there were more important matters to investigate.
She talked to Rupert, who was used to being flirted with. It came with the job of diving instructor.
But she made him nervous.
“That’s how I knew,” he said.
They travelled around the island together. And now they move around the world, wherever her job takes her.
The story was winding to a close. Somebody started tapping on a wine glass.