In a flurry of lateness, hurtling towards an appointment with the optician, I turn the corner of the High Street and there, with his back to me, is the Bim.
I call his name, and as he turns to see me his face breaks into a smile and, unusually, he opens his arms and I step into his hug.
It isn't often that the Bim and I meet unexpectedly. Usually we know when we're about to meet because it's pre-arranged, part of the daily round of arrangements concerning Anna-mouse. We have time to arm ourselves against any residual feelings we might have for one another. We can tuck away the unseemly vestiges of our love; fold it over and under, starched and sanitised like hospital corners, so that nothing ragged remains.
No doubt it will be all tucked up again tomorrow. But today, just for a moment, the future became the present, and meeting the Bim was a pleasure again. One day too much time will have gone by for us to mind the past and this will be how we will greet each other always - genuinely, spontaneously, like old friends.