I first saw him at one of the institute’s social events.
This was also the evening I met the Butterfly, a girl who will come into the story later on. She is very pretty, has black wavy hair, an engaging smile and an amazingly calm voice. I with I could tell you her name, so I can recommend to listen to one of her talks at scientific conferences.
I was sitting next to her, facing the entrance door when the Witcher entered, looking annoyed. I immediately noted his long dark hair, dark eyes and upright posture – he seemed out of place, more like some dark prince out of a storybook He swept past me and took a seat at the table the farest away from me. I felt an urge to change seats, but I had a lot of important people around me.
He left pretty early and didn’t notice me.
At the next institute meeting I approached him and asked if I could sit next to him. He said yes and I sat down. We didn’t talk to each other for the rest of the day.
Then came the beginning of 2013.
Being new in my job, I was sent to a conference of several days duration, hosted by our institute, where I was to present a poster and do some networking. The venue was held at a hotel in the mountains, with plenty of opportunities to go skiing, but little else.
There were only a few hours of lecture on the first day and then everybody met for dinner. Again, I took a seat at the same table as he did and even handed him my scarf to put on the bench beside him, telling him not to let me leave it there.* I spent the evening chatting to and having fun with two British girls I met on the train, as well as some other researchers I just met. The Witcher sat at the end of the table and barely said ten words. However, he reminded me of my scarf when I actually would have forgotten it.
He didn’t talk to me on the second day either, despite me always seeking to be somewhere around him. I don’t know why I hadn’t made a first step by this time already. Usually I don’t have problems starting a conversation.
That evening I talked to my roommate when we were already lying in bed. She told me about her cross-country skiing trip during lunch break and that she and her friends met the Witcher and he joined them for the way back to the hotel. I confessed to her how annoyed I was about him not talking to me. She replied: “I haven’t talked to him before either. He is a quiet guy, but was very nice after we invited him. I guess he just needs to be approached.”
That was it then. The third day I managed to sit directly opposite him at the table for lunch. Except for him there were only girls at our table and we had a lot of fun, telling stories and laughing a lot. Then there was some break in the conversation, when someone had just finished a story and everything was quiet for just an instant. That was my moment. I placed the cutlery neatly on my plate, looked at him, smiled and said: “Why do you never talk? Like… ever.” The girls burst out with laughter – I had apparantly addressed something they had all noticed – and the Witcher was at a loss for words until all the giggles had subsided.
Then he asked me: “Is that a 12-sided die on your necklace.”
“I knew it! I fucking knew it!”
We then proceeded to explain to the girls what 12-sided dice are used for, as well as some other RPG stuff they probably had never heard about before. He was very talkactive now and I was proud of how I finally got through to him. Before leaving the table, I remarked briefly on how I didn’t like skiing and was about to spend the afternoon in the hotel’s spa area.
When I arrived there half an hour later I already spotted him in the pool. I smiled to myself and thought of how it would be all plain sailing from now on.
* On that day I had already forgotten my suitcase in the train and my poster at the reception desk. I retrieved the former by running like hell and getting back into the train before it drove off. The poster was brought to me by the hotel staff.