It was late in the afternoon and we lay together on a blanket spread out by the bank of the river. A young mother stood to our left with her son, both of them pointing excitedly at a family of ducks that had ventured out in fleet-like formation from the protective hideaway of the reeds. We could hear the little voice of the child as he carefully counted each duckling.
Other than that we were alone. A gentle breeze brought with it the first of the evening chill pressing light clothing against her skin. The sun, in the mood for seduction, made its way through the cotton of her dress and purposefully traced the lines of her body. Time, for a moment, stood still.
She smiled as I poured the last of the champagne into her glass and I could feel her eyes as she looked carefully towards me as if scrutinising my face for flaws.
“Brutus,” she whispered at last, “do you love me?”
It was a pivotal moment and one to be respected. It was a question to which the answer would remain forever etched into personal history. And so I paused momentarily and attempted to convey a look of romantic intoxication whilst I dug deep into my emotional stocks for a worthy reply.
“Absolutely emphatically,” I told told her with tenderness.
She sat up suddenly and pulled away from me. These were not, evidently, the kind of words she had been fishing for. I wondered, for a moment, if there may have been something wrong with my pronunciation. Something important that had gone missing in translation.
“What did you say?”
“Emphatically,” I repeated, “absolutely.”
I recognised my mistake in the shape of her eyes. She had been looking for something more spontaneous, more instinctual, more animalistic.
Not only her eyes, but her whole body had turned against me with contempt.
“What are you,” she hissed, “A fucking librarian?”