The old woman had invited the guy out to lunch. They drove in her Cadillac to a mall, in which there was a department store, in which there was a restaurant, and that’s where they went. Over the course of their meal, the old woman mentioned that her husband had enjoyed an active sex life with his first wife, who had died. She – his lunch companion – explained that she was not as sexually compatible with her husband as her predecessor had been, and had thus never been able to meet his needs. This made the guy feel very awkward and embarassed. An old woman talking about sex! He yearned for the lunch to be over so he could go back home to smoke pot and listen to loud music with his friends.

In the years that followed, when he occasionally recalled that lunch, he always remembered it with a cringe as that time the old woman talked about sex. Just a crazy thing that had happened to him. But one day, decades later, he thought about it and suddenly saw it completely differently. He still cringed, but at his own response, not at the old woman. It had just been a regular conversation about life, he realised. She had been talking to him as one grownup to another. Only he hadn’t been a grownup yet. Not even close.