I suggested meeting for coffee or lunch, whatever time she was free, but Tania got back and said as it was a nice day for once how about a stroll in a park. St. James’s Park suited us both and there was some sun, pleasant to see. Everyone was wearing coats or bags with the built-in solar panels to grab energy for their charger. The rain and gloom had left us all charging up our tablets or phones or music from power sockets instead of the little portable fast- charger that works off stored sunlight energy; we wanted to replenish the handy free supply. People with cars were opting for street parking, so the solar panels on the car roofs would trickle charge their batteries. Tania had got there ahead of me, and was holding her face up to the watery winter sun. I saw the copper highlights of her hair. As I understand it, not being well versed in blind date etiquette, the man is supposed to be early so the lady can spot him and decide if she wants to flee. I was a few minutes early. The only other people around in the middle of a work day were elderly people, retirement age which means over seventy, some with grandchildren to save the family paying for childcare. “Hi, Tania?” I asked, strolling closer and holding out my hand. She smiled and shook with her mittened hand. “Donal, nice to meet you.” She didn’t sound London, but mid- Atlantic. “You were right, it’s a lovely day. I don’t think pelicans eat bread, but I have some crusts for the ducks.” “Which ones are the pelicans?” She was tall, broad shoulders for a girl, but maybe that was the dark heavy coat. Flattish shoes, about my height which made her around six foot, a change for me to date someone so tall. That winter everyone had suddenly started wearing shocking pink, men and women both, in little flashes of colour like scarves, a stripe in a tie, a phone jacket, a bangle or tag on a handbag, the soles of their scuffs. I didn’t wear pink, ever. Fashion didn’t affect me. Tania had a pink fluffy scarf tucked around her neck so she could burrow her chin down if she felt a chill. She didn’t need it today, with the brief lack of wind and cloud. The girl didn’t observe – or care about - any clash of colour between the scarf, her auburn hair and yellow-tinged skin and pale yellow eyes. It’s not like they teach colour clash in schools, and my eyes are just more sensitive than most. My sense of smell is also extremely sensitive, and my hearing, taste and touch. I didn’t need visual clues to know that this girl was not an Earth native. Her body chemistry was different, colder, made of different components, releasing different pheromones, or none. Her hands weren’t the right shape, probably why she kept on the mittens. Her voicebox didn’t work the same way. Her breathing rate was slower, slow metabolism. Her hair had something different, a way of turning gradually towards the sun. Yes, her hair had a barely discernible movement of its own. “I should tell you first that I’m a journalist,” I said. “While I’m glad to meet nice girls on my own account, I’m also writing up a feature for my zine on niche dating. Of course I won’t use anyone’s real names.” “That sounds interesting,” she said cautiously as we tossed crumbs to the ducks; as I’d expected the piscatorian pelicans were indifferent. Mallards, the wild brown ducks and green-headed drakes, will mate with other kinds of duck, so there were a few crossbreed types defying categorisation. The trees cast stripy shadows from bare branches. “What do you do?” “I’m an entrepreneur.” “Great. Doing what?” “I’m running a business to supply mushrooms to restaurants and shops. It’s small at present.” “That’s really useful.” If I hadn’t rigged it myself, my paranoia would have got me wondering whether she’d fixed it to meet me. I decided not to mention that I reviewed restaurants; she’d be looking for introductions. “Is there much demand?” “Always a demand for food in London,” Tania said. “Have you been here long?” “Five months.” “And where are you from?” She hesitated. “I know you’re not from Earth,” I said. “You don’t mind?” “I know some very nice off-Earthers.” She looked away from me, up to the sunlight. “Where do you think I’m from?” “Uranus.” I saw flickers of a few different – emotions, I was labelling them, but did these people have the same emotions? Maybe thoughts would be better – cross her face, before she abruptly tucked her arm through the crook of my left elbow and we started walking.