We took this picture on 21 August last year. It was Chris’s 48th birthday and we went out for dinner at Demuth’s (now the Acorn Kitchen) our favourite restaurant. The food there is fabulous but we loved it for another reason: it’s where we went on our first date back in 2001. Although, Chris didn’t actually know it was a date at the time.
At least, that’s what she always said.
“How could you not have known it was a date?” I used to ask her.
“You were just some bloke I was having dinner with,” she would say. “Meeting up for a chat.”
“Just some bloke!”
“You know what I mean.”
“It wasn’t until afterwards, in the car outside my house, when you picked up my notebook and wrote your phone number in, that I realised something was up.”
“Something was up!”
“And the books,” she would say. “That was sneaky. Leaving a pile of interesting books on the table when you went off to the loo.”
“You looked at them?”
“Of course, I looked at them.”
We had the same conversation many times over the years, me refusing to believe she hadn’t known that we had been on a date, and she maintaining her innocence. It made us both laugh.
The night the photograph was taken, I’d found a parking space two streets away and we walked slowly to the restaurant, Chris holding my arm for support, her left leg dragging a little. I’d booked the same table as the one at which we’d enjoyed our asymmetric first date, set back on it’s own in an alcove on the ground floor.
We relished every mouthful and every moment.
It was her last birthday.