Honeymoon

After years of living alone, he believed he’d found happiness. The wedding had been low-key – registry office and the local pub for a meal with friends. They’d spent a bit more on the honeymoon. Now they stood on a beach that stretched before them, a swathe of ochre against an ocean of blue, while behind them, the dunes bristled with marram grass and sea thistles. North Norfolk in the summer was breath-taking.

They wandered hand in hand down to the water’s edge, where frothy white foam pilfered the fine gravel little by little.

“It was a lovely ceremony, darling,” his wife continued. She wouldn’t stop, not even to enjoy the view. Her voice rose above the gentle rumble of waves and the echoing cries of seagulls.

“You know I wanted the full works. I appreciate that a man of fifty isn’t over-excited about dressing up in a suit for a church wedding, but think about it, for my sake. And you wear a three-piece suit at weekends – painted gold from head to toe and with a gold traffic cone on your head!”

That was one of the things that had niggled Stan about her: she despised his second job, performing as a living statue, and was repulsed by the traces of milkshake and bird shit stains that sometimes accrued on his costume. She would only meet him for lunch during the week, when he had a respectable career as an accountant.

“You don’t need to move big sums. It’s easier to shift smaller amounts of money from a lot of different accounts.”

Her persistence was heavy on his shoulders.  She let go of his hand and turned back to the dunes.

“Don’t think I’ll forget about this!” she shouted over her shoulder. “You’re supposed to make your wife happy – I’m not!”

Neither was Stan. He’d never done anything outside the law. He paid his bills on time; if he saw someone drop a coin, no matter how small, he’d pick it up and hand it back; and he was a trusted long-term employee. But he had longed to be a husband, was enjoying the companionship (and the sex), and how would he ever find another good-looking, desirable wife?

Kim M. Russell, 31st May 2020

man and woman holding hands each other while walking on seashore during daytime
Image found on Unsplash

For Poets and Storytellers United Writers’ Pantry

I originally wrote this in an e-mail workshop organised by a member of staff from the Norfolk Library and Information Services. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken place at the Norwich Millennium Library.

The fourteen participants wrote a sentence or two on setting, character and conflict, which were then sent by email, separated and mixed up. Each participant received a setting/character/conflict combination, which did not include any of their own ideas.

Mine were:

Character is a male living statue, 50 years old. He wears a three-piece suit and is painted gold from head to toe with a gold traffic cone on his head. There are traces of milkshake and bird shit stains on his outfit.

Scene:  Sand stretched as far as the eye could see, a swathe of ochre against an ocean of blue. Behind it, the dunes stood guard whilst at the water’s edge, frothy white foam pilfered the fine gravel little by little.

 Conflict: The main character finds themselves coerced to commit fraud by their husband/wife only days after getting married. Her/his morals fights against the urge to break the law, but the fear of not going ahead and what the potential outcome might be if they refused are pulling them apart.

We then wrote stories from these combinations. I pared mine down to 369 words for today’s Writers’ Pantry.

39 thoughts on “Honeymoon

  1. Excellent write. Deceptively deep. Though I think they’re doomed to failure. I particularly liked the opening. I lived in North Norfolk for a couple of years in the early 80s, and regularly visited the coast – Sheringham, Cromer … you brought back memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting exercise 😀 to write inspired by setting, character and conflict, and that too sent by email! I enjoyed reading this one, Kim! 💝💝

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed this–the conflict and the scene were palpable and it also felt like a great beginning to a mystery novel. Would definitely have read on, where that the case. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear. It’s always a poor idea to marry someone in whom you see “potential” and think that you can change them. Surely she must have known about his statue-ing proclivities before they wed!
    ~cie from poetry of the netherworld~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, there are women who like the look of a man and then think they can change the things they don’t like. She probably thought living statues interesting when they first met. Stan would be better off without her.

      Like

  5. Even the most conventional of relationships take work to maintain. Relationships that require someone to go against their nature or beliefs never go anywhere. I predict a lot of pain and frustration for this couple.

    I really like how you responded to the exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “All that glitters is not gold” that’s what I kept thinking. Not the man in his gold costume, not his job as an accountant, not his “beautiful and desirable” wife. Things are never as they seem when looked at from afar. It’s only on closer inspection do you discover what things truly are. I really like everything that you have fit in with this short write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to try the exercise again. It’s too complicated to make into a prompt, but it did prove that you can write pretty much out of anything. That relationship should have never happened!

      Like

  7. Honeymoon is over. Oldsters cannot be too choosy but obviously this was accepting yoo much. He should have counseling before he even dates, let alone get married. When I was single three of us had a race car. I was under the car getting ready to pull out the transmission when our main owner and driver’s wife came out with her suitcase. I remember her words still, “You love this d**ed old car more than you love me. I am leaving.” They divorced.
    ..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, this is so uncomfortable, isn’t it? Well written! I feel this man’s conflict and desire. He’s definitely better off without this particular woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fascinating exercise … and the end result is really compelling. The story carried me along from start to finish. It really makes the case for a quirk in human interactions that I have often witnessed. Too many people do not reflect enough on:
    1. What they want in life
    2. How to achieve and preserve that wish
    3. And the things that they do, that sabotage what – at the end of the day – it is that they want

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.