The park was quiet for a Friday morning. The sun warm, leaves golden and grass still slightly damp from an early autumn shower.
It felt like home away from home.
She sat on the park bench, frail and forlorn, crouching over and clutching her chest. Her strikingly transparent blue eyes welled with tears, her aged leathery skin covered in tattoos of names and dates; just like mine.
There was a new tattoo on her chest. Her husband had died two days before.
I sat beside her and handed her a cup of tea from my thermos and a slice of cinnamon teacake still warm from the oven. Her eyes warmed with gratitude as she looked up at me, “this was one of our favourites!”
We meet in the park each week to share tea, cake and stories of our tattoos. For each person or pet we have loved, we point to a tattoo. On our birthdays, we both get a new tattoo. I feel as though I have known her all my life, her memories now mine and mine are hers.
This morning I wait for her in the park but she hasn’t arrived. She had one tattoo left, the first tattoo she ever had. She seemed to find that one too hard to talk about.
I arrive home to find a letter from her. She tells me about the first tattoo. It was to remember a daughter she had given up for adoption.
The date is my birthday.