In Office Hours

by Lucy Kellaway

Different ages but two sides of a spinning coin Bella's and Stella's lives bubble and fizzle as they drink champagne in London. The spinning slows down still giving out flashes of light.


Slowly they started to round the circle. One man had brought his child's first tooth. Men can get away with slushy display of parental love, Bella thought, but women cannot. Ben had brought the key to his motorbike, which was cheating, as everyone knew he rode it. Most of the other men brought something to do with sport. Four of them produced golf balls, leading to a lively discussion of handicaps, which Jay had to silence. There were only two other women in the group; one produced a book of travel writing about the places she hoped to visit when she had more time - a gratuitous reference to how hard she worked. The other brought a swimming hat, and told the team the not especially interesting detail that she went swimming twice a week. Bella waited for her turn with growing dread. She realized that she had misunderstood the exercise: the aim wasn't to bring along something surprising but to bring along something safe that didn't say anything about you at all. Bella looked at the three things in her lap.


She may not leave by Fay Weldon
Melinda and Melinda by Woody Allen

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