Graeme Robertson for the Guardian Fifteen years ago, I began a relationship with a man I met as a result of dialling a wrong number. We were together for six years. The misdialling happened one afternoon in late July.
Not naturally given to making such arrangements, I was perhaps already behaving out of character. There was every reason for the voice to have been brief, even irritated. Instead it was patient and appeared to have caught the flavour of both my mistake, and my invitation. The voice hoped the evening would go well. It took me five minutes and the encouragement of my friends after replacing the receiver to decide to call him back.
I told him that a few of us were heading to a bar near Gloucester Road, in central London, within the next few hours my only, self-imposed safety measures being to take somebody along with me and to choose a location a bit of a distance from my home.
There was a live thrill to making the suggestion, quite different from the world-weary online exchanges of dating profiles. In other circumstances, I might have let nerves prevent me from approaching him. My friends understood and fell away. We went on to dinner at his invitation. And so a long-standing relationship began.
An ordinary Tuesday at my relatively new workplace brought another blast of serendipity, while having none of the carefree context of the first.
It was an unlikely romantic setting. Standing by the racks of cellophane-sealed words for every occasion, was a man looking at the same Beatrix Potter birthday cards I had chosen. One of us said something banal about the card. He had an energy about him that I liked right away. So I took another, bigger, risk. Having gone to the till with many more birthday cards than I needed, I walked back to where he was standing. He said he was only recently out of a relationship and so was unused to thinking of himself as single, and that this was the most flattering thing to have happened to him for years.
Still smiling, he left. He replied instantly, suggesting dinner on his return the following week. I felt shocked and proud of myself for having made something like this happen.
We dined out on the manner of our meeting — from the outset. We frame ourselves in two dimensions, designed to lead us to three. This is 21st-century matchmaking. Such moments are rare. In my experience, they happen perhaps every few years. But the regret of not having spoken, and of not having stopped, is something most of us have felt.
With an interval of more than eight years between them, my own actions can hardly be called habitual.