A sudden downpour ruined the picnic
Nobody said anything to Devon
But he knew they blamed him for being
In a field far away from the cars
Isolated and out of view- they all applauded
But now with the rain sweeping in
Carrying blankets and cases of beer and uneaten food
Drenched skirts and dresses skin tight
Shoes ready to be abandoned, caked in mud
Stereo dripping- will it work again?
Nobody said anything to Devon, but the banter
Became sharp, laced with malice
Getting to the cars made it worse
Loretta had a nearly new Ka, which she loved
Dripping bums on her nice seats
Meant unfriendly stains. But what to do?
The other car was a bit of wreck
(Devon dived into that one, afraid of Loretta,
Even though he’d come with her.)
He knew that they blamed him and
In truth he blamed himself too
He blamed himself for trying something new
Something out of the city
A bit edgy, a picnic in the country
Birds singing and warm gusts of wind
Views unhindered by tower blocks and
The noise of traffic, the noise of two tones
Noise, competitive noise, shrieking noise
Devon thought, ‘Let’s go into the countryside’
It had been a hard sell- ‘Countryside? Birds and bees? and  stuff?
Will we be harassed? Disrespected? Questioned?
People will stare and…’ They were afraid
But he’d won them over and he’d puffed himself up
Loretta was proud to be doing a proper car drive
She’d bought a map; the others had followed her
Which made her even prouder, keeping them in her vision
But the rain swilled Devon’s confidence away
Down into a gurgling gutter laughing ‘Told you so!’
Morosely he listened to the others in amazement
High fives, clicking fingers, ‘What a great day.’
So he laughed too. Soon he’d be with Loretta
Which is what it had all been about anyway.

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