If we observe a group of gas particles from above, they will float around seemingly at random, each on a path completely unrelated to another. Occasionally, they will collide; each is travelling a separate path, but those paths are bound to meet sometimes.
Had you viewed the hospital from above on Thursday the 19th of May, you would have seen roughly the same thing. People whizzed around corridors, each with their own separate mission and destination. Science demanded that there would be collisions.
There were, of course, several such collisions. Terrified new doctors, still in training, splashed unimpressed doctors with hot coffee as they zoomed round corners, and an unsuspecting nurse was hit by an old man in a wheelchair, though it's debatable whether this was coincidence or the boredom of the elderly. One of these collisions could be considered the beginning of a story. Of course, it wasn't the beginning, it was just another part – but it's a convenient place to start telling the tale.
This particular collision was between two newcomers to the hospital. One was a little, fragile girl was a constant aura of awkwardness and thin, white-blonde hair. The other was a tall, thin young man, always fidgeting or darting around. Eliza Lauren and Daniel Morris.
Each was on their separate path around the hospital, to fetch coffee or charts or whatever errand they were being sent on by their superiors this time. Pure fate, or randomness, or collision theory somehow brought them together as Daniel dashed round the corner, straight into Eliza, who was too busy focusing on avoiding banging into everyone else to see someone about to bang into her. The force sent her straight to the floor.
In a few seconds Daniel went from mild surprise to utter panic. He let out a flurry of apologies, dragging a bemused Eliza to her feet. She looked at him. He looked at her. And thus the two most awkward people in England met.
"I'm so sorry," Daniel said for the millionth time. "I didn't see you. Sorry. Really, I am. It's just I'm new and I'm panicking and everyone's terrifying." He laughed nervously. After a moment's pause to allow her shaken brain to comprehend his words, Eliza laughed too.
"I know, right? Scary place. I'm new too – though it's not as bad, my uncle's worked here for years. But it's still scary. It must be worse for you, of course." Her words were becoming more and more confused as she noticed the deep green of his eyes and the gentle smile on his face. Eliza had been known to fall in love with up to fourteen people in a day.
Daniel laughed, completely lost. He had nothing to say. He was hopeless at conversations and couldn't do anything apart from apologies and answer to questions. He racked his brains for what to do in such a social situation.
"I'm Daniel." No! Too forward! Fool! She's going to think you're coming on to her and call the police or something!
"I'm El. Eliza. But everyone says El because it's easier." She laughed a horrifically strange laugh. Idiot! You sound ridiculous! He's going to think you're a freak and never talk to you again!
"Coolio." Coolio?! Moron! No-one says that! She's going to think you're some kind of weird who thinks you're still ten!
Luckily for them both, Daniel's pager buzzed. He fumbled for it in all the wrong pockets, and, when he finally found it, dropped it on the floor. But somehow, he managed to read the page. He had to find some charts for Dr Roy.
"Ah," he said, "I have to go." No! Don't be stupid, Daniel! You might never see her again, and then she'll forever think of you as the bumbling idiot who dropped his pager! "Um … do you have a phone? Number? Do you have a phone number?"
"Of course," El beamed. There was an awkward silence.
"Can I … have … your number?"
"Oh, of course. Let me just get a pen." She too fumbled in all the wrong pockets before finding a biro. Stupid El! Why would he just ask you if you have a number?
He clumsily took the pen and poised it above his left hand, ready to write. El stared at the ceiling as she hesitantly recited her phone number, as if a reminder of which number came where might be written up there. Finally, after a tongue-tied goodbye, the two skipped off in their separate directions in utter schoolchild-like bliss.