She had picked the tree. It was a vast oak with a strong reach providing plenty of shade against the mid-august sun. As they walked towards the large shadow, her eyes scanned for a place to sit - a spot where the grass was full, no thistles or twigs that might stab or sting her bare feet. Her heart was racing. She had wanted it to be perfect so that the moment was there and the words would flow.
They placed the old rug on a lush mound of grass, spreading the corners and kicking off shoes to weigh down the edges, protection against the summer breeze.
After unpacking the basket of homemade lemonade, triangles of sandwiches, strips of carrots and peppers to submerse in dips and two cup cakes each, she took a moment to stop and watch him. His eyes were beautiful. She had always loved his eyes - so many colours and flecks of light, she wondered whether she would ever see them cry or the colour become dull; the thought made her own eyes water so she pulled down her sunglasses to hide her thoughts.
They didn't say much whilst they ate and sipped the cold lemonade. Just a few pleasantries about how beautiful the day was and how the breeze was welcome as was the silence of the great open park. She wanted to say they should do it more often. She regrets not saying it now.
He ate, read the paper and snoozed in the sunshine. His body unwinding with every long exhale as she watched from behind her dark shades. Every so often she felt for the piece of
of paper that was in the pocket of her strappy summer dress. It was a hand written note, one that she had read countless times. She didn't actually need the note, she knew the words
off by heart but it reassured her. Twice she pulled it from her pocket and started to unravel the small squares, but twice, her fingers worked the paper back to its folded state.
She wanted to blurt the contents out and let all 357 words fall from her lips as quick as possible. What will he say? Will he laugh, cry or be angry. Will he scoop her up into his arms and kiss her with all the answers she will ever need.
She held the paper, clenched in her fist, took one breath and whispered... 'My name is not Clare...'