It was before the children, before the mortgage, before the mornings he’d wake up with the niggling feeling that he’d missed out on something important.
They ate a French restaurant on Upper Street, two – sometimes three – times a month, because babysitting wasn’t a word they used then; because money was something to spend, then.
She always ordered the courgette flowers, and they always laughed at the surprise of summer-yellow petals curled inside the grease-slicked batter.
There was a time – only six months or so – when they slept in separate countries. He ate there alone, but only the once.
Gradually, the restaurant disappeared. The waitress who sang under her breath was replaced by a man with a missing front tooth. The silent, grey-haired owner sold out to a young couple. The rickety wooden tables were replaced with even more rickety metal ones. And eventually, inevitably, courgette flowers were dropped from the menu.
They live in a three-bedroom house now, with a narrow stretch of garden at the back – three courgette plants amongst a tumble of beans and tomatoes. Every year they talk about dunking the courgette flowers into batter and frying them in olive oil. It would never be as good though, would it, he says and she always nods and smiles, ands says no, she supposes it wouldn’t.
Inspired by conversations at Frances Thorburn’s Mobile Picnic Pavillion outside Islington Town Hall on Thursday 29th July 2010.