Andrew walks out of his meeting, completely exhausted. After three long days of negotiating, he has finally worked out a deal that is sure to get him a promotion. Despite the fact that he has an early flight back to Sydney in the morning, Andrew decides to have a few drinks at the pub across the street. He has been in London for three days and has not seen any of the city. He cannot leave without at least visiting a pub, he thinks.
He quickly crosses the street and walks through the blue door of the pub. He notices a coat rack next to the door and carefully hangs his jacket from one of the hooks. Andrew does not really consider it to be his jacket though. It was his father’s jacket, but it was passed down to Andrew after his father died last year. Almost every memory Andrew has of his dad involves him wearing the bright red coat.
Andrew walks to the bar and orders a drink. After he has finished, the bartender asks if he wants another drink. Andrew checks his watch and sees his plane is leaving in five hours and decides he needs to go. He regrets picking a flight so early in the morning, but knows he will be able to sleep on the plane. He pays for his drink, grabs his jacket, and leaves.
It has gotten much colder outside since Andrew went into the pub, so he slips his jacket on. At least, he tries to slip it on. He sticks his arm in the sleeve, but the hole at the end is too small for his hand. He tries the other sleeve, but the jacket is too small to stretch across his back. He takes it off and looks at it.
It looks like a shrunken version of his jacket. He checks the pocket and finds a wallet that is definitely not his. He opens it up and sees an ID with a picture of a woman. Her name is Erin. She has dark brown hair and green eyes. A cute girl, Andrew thinks, but he does not have time to worry about that.
He returns to the bar and checks the coat rack. His coat is gone. There are three black coats and a brown one, but not a single red. He walks around the bar thinking that maybe Erin got cold and put his jacket on, but there are no women in the whole place. He stands still, trying to decide what to do. He cannot leave his dad’s jacket in London and Erin probably needs her wallet.
He types the address from her ID into his phone and sees that her house is only a few blocks away. He can stop by her place, trade jackets, and still make it back to his hotel with a little bit of time to sleep.
He walks through the night. It is getting colder and his thin dress shirt does not keep him warm. He finds the house and knocks on the door. When the door finally opens, the woman standing behind it is definitely not Erin. This woman is in her eighties with bright white hair.
“Does a woman named Erin live here?” Andrew asks her.
“No. No one lives here but me,” she answers.
Andrew digs through the pocket of the jacket and hands the old woman Erin’s ID. “Do you know her?” he asks.
“Oh yes, that’s the girl who lived here before me. I saw her when she was moving out. She’s a cute little thing, isn’t she?”
“Do you know how I can contact her? It’s kind of urgent.”
“Well I don’t really know her. I could call the landlord. See if he knows anything.”
“Well if it wouldn’t be too much trouble,” Andrew says.
“No trouble at all.” The woman invites him in and he sits on the couch. She goes into the kitchen and he hears her talking on the phone. He looks through the wallet, trying to find any clues about her, but all he finds are a couple of credit cards and a picture of her and some friends.
“She must be pretty special,” the old woman says as she walks into the living room.
Andrew’s head jerks up as he realizes he is staring at the photo.
“Oh, no. I’ve never met her,” Andrew says.
The woman looks suspicious but hands him a piece of paper. “The landlord says he doesn’t know how to contact her but he did give me the name of a club she likes to go to. I don’t know if it’ll help.”
Andrew types the address written on the paper into his phone and sees it is a ten minute walk away. And he sees that his plane leaves in four hours. He thanks the old woman and walks as quickly as he can to the club.
Inside the club, he searches through the crowd but cannot find Erin anywhere. Nobody looks anything like her.
He steps outside the club and leans against the wall. He doesn’t even notice the woman leaning against the wall next to him wearing a red jacket that is clearly too big for her. She notices him though.
“That jacket would be warmer if you were wearing it,” she says.
Andrew looks up to see Erin staring right at him.
“Wait, you’re Erin,” he says.
“I know,” she says. “But that’s weird that you know.”
“I’ve been looking for you all night. You’re wearing my jacket. We accidentally swapped jackets at the pub earlier.”
“How did you find me?” She smiles as she says this. Her smile is a lot more beautiful in person, Andrew thinks.
“It’s a long story.”
“Wait, I was at the pub two hours ago. Have you really been chasing me around for that long?”
“Well I was chasing the jacket, really,” Andrew says, starting to blush.
“I like a person that’s committed to his jacket,” Erin says as she slides off Andrew’s jacket and hands it to him. He slips it over his shoulders and feels Erin’s lingering warmth. “I like long stories. Want to get a cup of coffee and tell me about your night?”
“Sure.” Andrew smiles at her and knows he will miss his plane in a few hours, but he does not care.
Glossary: bartender: a person who mixes and serves drinks at a pub. dig through: to search inside something. dress shirt: a formal white shirt. ID (Identification Card): a card with your photo, name and other information about you. jerk up: to move with a sudden short movement. landlord: an owner of an apartment or house. lingering: remaining and still not disappearing. rack: an object with hooks for hanging things on. slide off: to remove something easily. slip on: to put clothes on quickly and easily. swap: to replace something with something else. trade: to give something to someone and receive something in return.