Once upon a time a boy asked a girl if she'd like to escape the city that they lived in and go for a walk in the countryside with him and his doggies. They spent a glorious day sitting by the reservoir, stomping through the woods, exploring the ancient graveyard, trespassing in the grounds of private mansions and lying in the grass staring at the deep blue sky while the doggies sat nearby and scowled. Lying in the grass was not what they had had in mind when they were offered a walk.
The boy and the girl got to know each other that day, they traded stories about when they were wee and when they were middle sized and when they had been sitting in classes together the week before and then the boy drove her home in his big red volvo and said goodnight. The next day they took the dogs for a walk up the hill, except the boy forgot to bring the dogs so they just took themselves for a walk up the hill. When they were half way the boy told the girl that he liked her, quite a lot and then he asked her if he could kiss her. The girl was so very surprised by such a proclamation that she burst out laughing. She laughed as she ran all the way back down the hill. In hindsight she would come to realise that this was a bit mean. It would also take quite some time for that day to be mentioned without the boy regressing into quite the black mood.
The boy went home to his hamsters and decided that he might as well die. The girl went home to her hysterical flatmates, still giggling. At the end of that day, that longest of late Spring days, in the dark of a red volvo with street lamps bouncing their orangey glow on the black cobbles and the scent of the neighbour's honeysuckle drifting in on the breeze she leant over and kissed him. He couldn't see her blush in the dark but as she shut the car door wordlessly and peered through the window she could see his baffled grin in the dim light and bit her bottom lip, stifling a grin of her very own.
Some time later, quite some time later, the boy and the girl packed up their car (a purple volkswagen this time) and headed to the countryside. That very same countryside where they had sat by the reservoir and stomped in the woods and talked in the grass and where the boy had spent his childhood, a childhood of puppies and horses and swimming in the river. The car was full of food and pillows and a magical tent that had been taunting them with whispered promises of woodlands and beaches and barbecued goodies for weeks.
They parked down a lane and stomped through a field. They stumbled along a path and down a winding trail. Under the shade of a towering oak tree they dropped their bags and there they made themselves comfortable, settling in for the weekend.
The next morning, as they awoke to the sounds of swallows catching breakfast and the river rumbling by, to the smells of dank fertile earth and fresh green possibility and with the sunlight dappling on the green and orange silk dome that was their very own home in the woods the girl turned to the boy.
'Remember the first time you took me here?' she asked. 'Of course' he replied.
'It was five years ago this week' she told him with a smile....