"....and the weekend promises sunshine and southerly breezes. Make the most of it!"
The weatherman's cheery voice came from the TV, precariously（不安全地） perched on a pile of books, the only way she'd yet found for its cable to reach the socket. Piles of books, papers, magazines had always been a feature of Maggie's lived-in kitchen and they had grown in the dark days since January. But recent weeks had found her more able to cope with her situation and a measure of organization had returned to her life.
But, like the TV, it was a delicate balance. To the outside world, she seemed cool and collected; inside she felt deeply vulnerable. Strategies had been adopted for coping, new routines found, places that would stir painful memories strictly avoided.
However, this was a small town and some places could not be ignored. Like the moor（沼澤，荒野） which looked down on her every time she opened her front door. Over the years, she and Mike had spent many hours walking on it, marking the changing seasons, content in each other's company.
Late summer had always been a busy time as they followed in the footsteps of countless couples before them and gathered in the harvest for jam.
The forecast helped Maggie to make up her mind. Despite misgivings, the attraction of the moor in the late summer sun was too strong. It had to be faced one day on her own; it was too beautiful to stay away forever. The time had come to lay this ghost to rest and picking a few berries would keep her mind occupied. Decision made, Maggie turned off the TV and went to help with homework.
Saturday dawned bright and clear. Resisting the desire to turn back, Maggie drove along the familiar lanes that lead to the parking bay at the foot of the hill. The walk to the top seemed longer, steeper. She was out of breath, her legs ached and her heart pounded.
But at last the path emerged from the trees and stretched away in the sun. On either side, the brambles（荊棘，黑莓） clambered over heather and gorse, laden with clusters of fruit, ripe for picking; a riot of black and green, purple and yellow.
She need not have worried. The moor seemed to welcome her back like a long-lost friend and her spirits rose. Taking a deep breath of the clear air, Maggie deftly took a bag from her pocket and started to pick, stopping every now and then to straighten her back and enjoy the familiar view. With stained fingers and scratched hands to show for her efforts, the bag slowly filled with the dark, plump fruit.
Horse riders and walkers exchanged greetings as they passed. After a while, a solitary figure appeared on the path behind her, pausing and stooping occasionally, yet catching up quickly.
"Do you want to add these, then?"
The voice startled her, quieter than before but unmistakable. She hardly felt the pain of the brambles tearing into her hand as she jerked upright.
"What on earth are you doing here?"
"Thought I'd find you here, first weekend in September. Do you want these?" He held out a handful of berries, then tipped them into her bag. "Perfect day - are there any bilberries?"
How could he be so calm, so casual, when anger was welling up inside her? She wanted to rage at him for spoiling her perfect day, but the words in her head wouldn't come out.
"I - I haven't looked."
"Let me have a bag, I'll go see." Mike made his way across the heather to the dense, low-lying bushes and started to move the leaves aside to seek out the hidden fruit.
Maggie turned away, her thoughts racing, her peace shattered. She thought about retreating to the safety of her car. But having come so far she was determined not to turn back. She ambled along the path, picking the occasional berry, enthusiasm gone.
He gathered slowly, moving backwards and forwards through the bushes, but always keeping up with her. After a while, he came back to the path. She answered his questions - the children, her job, her parents - but always skirted round the main issue.
At last, they reached the point where all the moorland paths crossed. Maggie was glad of an opportunity to rest. Seating herself at one end of the bench, she stretched her legs in front of her. Mike sat down as well a little way along and stared, like her, at the patchwork of fields that lay beneath them. She couldn't recall the number of times they had come to this spot and shared a picnic lunch. Maggie had been looking forward to this moment, but hunger had deserted her. His nearness unsettled her even more; why couldn't he sit somewhere else.
"Are you on your own?" Stupid question. No sooner was it said than Maggie wished she had phrased it differently or thought about it more. But it was the question that she had been wanting to ask and there seemed little point in dressing it up with more words.
"Yes. In every way." He kept his eyes on the fields. Maggie didn't speak, waiting for him to go on. "It didn't last into the Spring. She moved on."
For the first time that day, Maggie turned and really looked at her husband. His eyes were deeper, his hair greyer, his face more lined, and his expression more worn. A sad face. Somewhere deep inside she wanted to pull him close, to tell him that everything was fine, to make those eyes smile again. But the pain that he'd caused could not be erased by a hug, even in this place, and she looked away.
After a while, she stood up. Despite the sunshine, there was a chill in the air.
"I'd better be going now." She didn't know what else to do or say, but nothing would be achieved by sitting on a bench. "Here, let me take that." He took the bag and they made their way in silence. Maggie wondered what he was thinking, were his thoughts as much of a jumble（混亂） as hers?
At last, the cars came into view.
"How did you get here?" she asked as she fumbled in her pocket for her keys.
"Train to Tonechester, then bus to here. There's a bus back to Tonechester this evening."
She resisted the sudden urge to offer a lift to the station. But perhaps there was a middle way.
"You've time for a cup of tea before you go?" She hoped it sounded more like a question than an order.
"And would there be scones and blackberry jam?"
Maggie laughed, relaxing for the first time since hearing his voice.
"You're pushing your luck! Is that all you've come back for?" She didn't give him time to reply. "No scones, but I've fresh bread which is just as good."
And after tea, she drove him to the bus stop. Getting out of the car, he turned, "Will you be out next week?"
"Possibly, if the weather holds."
A brief nod, and he joined the others waiting for the evening bus.
She didn't wait. Making her way home, she chose the longer route that twisted along the foot of the moor. They had a long way to go, but, like the weather, maybe the outlook was promising.