The Picnic

The Picnic
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Photo by Steven Depolo
Photo by Steven Depolo

I’m in love with you.

I hadn’t decided I was going to tell you for sure, not until the moment I called.

I pack a picnic: brie, grapes, smoked salmon pâté… And meanwhile I rehearse what I’m going to say… if I say anything. I haven’t decided yet.

The other night was wonderful. But I made a mistake. I stopped fighting it.

Ten years ago, when we met, I would have kissed you if I’d been single. That moment is lodged in my head like a drawing pin on a map. Since then I’ve guarded myself against how much I feel for you. The other night, I let my guard down.

There’s a bottle of cava in the fridge — a good one. Maybe I should bring the proper glasses.

My head replays without warning the things you’ve said; the way you smell; the feel of your hair. I get impatient when I have to have an ordinary conversation because all I want to think about is you.

As I reach for the picnic basket, Graham comes in.

“You never remember anything,” he says. “We don’t need dinner tonight. Swimming and pizza, remember? Only came home to pick up their kits.” He takes the kids’ bags down from the coat pegs and waves them at me.

“It’s not for us,” I say. “I’m going out with the girls from work.”

I’m surprised it isn’t obvious. Since when do we take the kids for evening picnics?

I’d forgotten the kids had swimming after school but Graham deals with them on a Friday. He always has done.

The door slams when he leaves but it isn’t deliberate.

What am I doing? I have a good life with Graham and the kids. God, the kids… How am I going to tell them?

I close the lid on the picnic basket and I head out to The Downs.

I’m sitting where we were the other night, where we watched the sun set as the crows settled in the trees bickering like grumpy old men. If you’d kissed me then I don’t know what I’d have done.

I unpack the picnic. I’ve brought two glasses. In case. I take out my mobile. It’ll only take a sentence to ruin all our lives:

I’m in love with you.

J. Adamthwaite

About Jenny Adamthwaite

J. Adamthwaite lives in East London where she works as a teaching assistant. She has had short fiction published by Cinnamon Press, Stand Magazine, and in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology, Jawbreakers. She is currently working on a novel.

J. Adamthwaite lives in East London where she works as a teaching assistant. She has had short fiction published by Cinnamon Press, Stand Magazine, and in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology, Jawbreakers. She is currently working on a novel.

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