I am dreaming about a man. His dark hair is badly cut. He's stubbly. He is wearing a white polo shirt and blue jeans. His eyes are blue, or are they brown? He looks Eastern European around the high,curved cheekbones. He would be handsome if he wasn't so pale and expressionless, and if his clothes and hair were better. As it is, everything about him seems designed to hold other people at arm's length.
I wake up. The man's face stays with me as I shower. I know him. I know I know him. I know him well. But I cannot remember who he is or where I know him from.
School? No. Work? No. Through friends? Not that I recall, no-one I'm still in touch with. I don't remember ever meeting this man, but I know I've met him.
Do I like him? I think about it. The feeling I get from this man is one of self-possession. I knew him but I didn't know him. I can't recall ever seeing him laugh, but I do remember his sneer - not at me, but at other people.
A question floats unbidden to the top of my mind. Could this be Matthew?
I don't know what Matthew looks like, not properly. I have an idea, but I don't recall his face. I know he has blue eyes and dark hair. I know he's slim. I know he has a large mole at the top of his left thigh, where it meets his groin.
After work I go and meet Amanda. She is with Alex in the Crescent Moon. It's the first time I have met Amanda's latest. With other friends, I might have dressed up a bit more but Amanda's relationships generally don't last long enough for me to figure out their last names, so I'm going to wait and see if Alex has sticking power before I start trying to impress her.
The Crescent Moon is empty apart from a bored barman slowly wiping down the bar and Amanda and Alex, who are sitting on the sofas in front of the large TV screen at the far end of the room. The TV is showing Diamonds Are Forever. I buy a large white wine and take it over to the two of them.
Amanda's nervous. I can see it in her eyes. She stands up and gives me a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek. I inhale her familiar, comforting Amanda-smell; Givenchy, leather jacket, skin.
Alex is sprawled on the sofa. She doesn't acknowledge me. She's wearing a black tank top, black jeans and black boots. Her arms are covered with pornographic tattoos, knots of people doing unlikely things to each other. She's playing with a blue-beaded choker clasped around her neck.
On the screen behind her head Blofeld's satellite blooms like a flower, a thousand diamonds gleaming, death floating silently through the neverending night of space.
I suddenly understand why Amanda's so obsessed with her; she's not only beautiful, she has a movie-star quality, a kind of sullen, exotic sexuality. Like invisible sequins glitter every time she moves her hand through the air. Like a real-life Bond girl.
"This is Alex," Amanda says proudly, as if Alex is a large fish she has caught or something. Alex stares at me silently. Yes, that figures. She's far too cool to observe social niceties. Her eyes are cinnamon brown.
"Hello," I say, and put my hand out. After a moment, Alex shakes it.
And just like that, I remember who the man is. He's a friend of a friend; we went on a blind date once in 2009. I thought he was a dick.
Huh. That's boring. Stupid brain.
I sit down and start drinking my white wine.