Allowing a couple of cars to get in front of me, I eased out into the traffic behind him. Now I’ve seen it in films and on TV of course, but actually following another car without drawing attention to oneself is no easy thing. There’s a lot of weaving in and out. The driver of a silver Toyota whose passenger side door I narrowly missed colliding with, probably thought that I was driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or mental impairment. This last may be close to the truth.
Simon was an aggressive driver. Sweating under my cap, I concentrated on keeping the BMW in sight and wondered what on earth I was doing. What was I expecting to discover? Fighting down a growing sense of the ridiculous, I followed him along the Broadway, past South Wimbledon Tube and out on to Merton High Street. Where was he going? Probably off to the gym or just home. A sudden thought occurred to me and I nearly veered off the road as the extent of my own stupidity hit me. I hadn’t thought to ask Laura for something as basic as Simon’s address. I groaned aloud (I seemed to have done that a lot today) and mentally beat myself up. I just knew I’d be crap at this. And I was surprised at how disappointed I was with myself. OK, so I could turn around, go home, phone Laura and tell her that it was no good, she’d just have to abandon the whole insane idea …, or … I could for once, finish what I’d started.
Now is probably the time to admit to a whopping character flaw: I have a history of giving up. Yes, I know it’s a sign of immaturity and I’m not in the least proud of it. The thing is, I’m always madly keen at the start of things; a new job, new relationship, classes in this or that, but when the first flash of enthusiasm has waned and determination, self-discipline and … well, courage, are needed to go on, then I have nearly always taken the easy way out and quit. Not good. So, it’s taken me a while to face up to the fact that I am not exactly the queen of the follow through. Somewhere inside me I have a suspicion that this is the real reason Grandma P. left me the house. She knew I needed its security. I felt a prickling of shame and then looked anxiously ahead for Simon. There was the BMW, five or six cars ahead now. Keeping a tight grip on the steering wheel, I followed him as he indicated right and pulled out on to Tooting High Street. Without conscious thought my mind, it would seem, had made the decision without me.
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