‘Chrome Yellow’ by Aldous Huxley.
That’s the one.
Derren’s wandered innumerable bookshops, devoured flocks of paperbacks, searching for the book for her.
“Hi Cara, how are you?”
He practises in the mirror every morning in the days before they meet.
Their annual coffee.
He brings her a book.
She brings one for him.
She’ll talk and talk.
And when she pauses he’ll still be listening, knowing he should speak but unable to find a thing to say.
And they’ll part ways, but twelve months later he’ll be practising his “hello,” handing her a carefully chosen paperback.
It’s nice to have these coffees. It gives you something to look forward to during the year.
And with every book he reads, every weekend, every evening, he asks himself.
“Would she like this one?”