Oh my ! Oh my ! Well, surely you could not have surprised me at that moment proffering these sounds out loud, for it would have been the most stupid thing to do. However, deep inside my mind, indeed deep inside my brain, I think my neurons were releasing as many electrical signals as they could so that once the threshold would be matched, I could not help but tell these two words. I was fighting against myself, and it was hard to do so in her presence. I did not know why, but even if her behaviour seemed completely harmless, I felt there was more than meets the eye. A stranger looking at both of us would have found our pair rather funny. I was following her, and rather than walking with her, I looked like a poor soul wandering, a few steps behind Miss Ana. She noticed that of course, but she did not seem to mind it at all for the first minutes or so, for perhaps she was also pondering what was going on and if she had done the right thing. As I was about to become restless, she stopped in front of a large building and looking at me, offered me to step in first. As I did so, I met her eyes, and though I wished it, I unfortunately could not read her mind.
Where she had drove me was in fact an immense pub, whose dimensions I did not dare to guess. Since I looked bemused and lost, Miss Ana told me that these pub was perhaps the most famous of the city, and by far the bigger. Two floors stood above us and Miss Ana had the intention to go up there. The staircase was very steep and I watched my steps cautiously. As soon as we arrived at the top of the pub, I noticed that Miss Ana was far from being a stranger in this place. She waved to a girl pouring beers after beers and the girl waved back.
“This is Helen, an old friend of mine” Miss Ana told me as we were heading towards her. I nodded a little. Helen was still pouring some glasses and at the same time indicated a table for Miss Ana and myself. The crowd was perhaps less dense than on the other floors, and yet, I had the impression that the two seats had been reserved especially for us. I became all the more convinced of that fact when, as we seated at our table, I looked around me and saw that we were kind of protected from the other clients, a little wall coming across the main place lessening the voices and the hypothetical curious.
It is the moment that I choose to comment on her odd choice : “ Well, Miss Ana, that is very kind of you to take me to this little tour of yours, and I must say that the place you choose is the most unexpected”. Miss Ana let out a little laugh : “Quite unexpected indeed. I am pretty sure you would not suspect me wandering in a pub like this. Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t have lots of occasions to come here. But as a matter of fact, when I was a student, this was the place were I found myself gathering with my friends, chatting and relaxing among my peers. Yeah…relaxing, even with that big noise !”
“Well, I do not know if I wish I had this kind of place back in my city, but I am pretty sure such a place will never exist anyway”.
Miss Ana seemed to be surprised by my remark and added :
“Really ? And why so ? Is it a political matter ?”
I found myself at unease with the tour the conversation was heading into :
“Politics ? No, I don’t think so. You know, we are in fact very open minded. Much more than you could think. But it is just not in our culture I guess.”
“You are right. I mean, I hope I haven’t offended you. It was not at all my intention”.
“Don’t worry. You haven’t. Your remark was sensible. I am aware of lots of cities and countries where alcohol and big gatherings are completely forbidden. We are just lucky that it is not the case for us. For both of us.”
Miss Ana did not respond for a few seconds, seemingly lost in her thoughts. Then she exclaimed quite abruptly :
“Really, I am glad you accepted my invitation. You see, I know you would not expect that. But I think it is indeed really important for our job. See, in a few minutes, we have already talk about secrets from my student life and some political, or rather non-political facts. That is why I took the liberty to talk about it to Mr Christopher a few weeks ago already. I thought he would not be too much into it, but to my surprise, he accepted it joyfully. So I plainly understand your hesitations”.
There she paused a little, and as I was about to tell something, she waved to Helen who had finished her job with other clients.
“Would you like a beer ? Or something else” Miss Ana told me ?
“Well, you are the expert here Miss Ana. Give me whatever is worth it as long as I can still manage to survive the afternoon tour.”
Miss Ana seemed rather glad with my response.
“Two beers then” and indicated with her right hand the two beers to be ordered.
And then, rather mysteriously, she said :
“This beer won’t do you any harm, trust me. And as you said before, the danger would just be to mix things up, which won’t be the case here.”
Oh my, oh my…