There was a contest I lost. Entrants had to write stories of 875 words or fewer in 24 hours based on the following prompt:
Strong waves pounded the dark sand just a few yards away. Hidden by beach grass, they embraced, relieved to finally escape their wedding guests. His poetic whispers suddenly ceased as he leaned back, and said, "There's something I need to tell you..."
This is the story I wrote:
Relieved to have finally escaped our wedding guests, I whispered, "There's something I need to tell you – I’ve been with a woman.”
“Since we’ve been together?”
“Since we’ve been married.”
“Your mom cornered me in the bathroom.”
She turned and stalked back toward the reception.
I followed her into the bright room and the sight of dancing guests. She went straight for the head table, beside which stood her mother. As my bride confronted her, her mother’s tongue fell like a just-shot seal from the ear of the catering boy.
“Mother! How could you?”
“He’s 18,” she said as she turned to the caterer boy. As he started to shake his head, she pushed him away.
“Not him. Him!” she said, looking at me.
“He’s definitely 18,” she said, giving me raised eyebrows and a slight smile.
“I thought you said this would stop.”
“And it would have, had he stopped it.”
“You’re my mother – you’re supposed to love me!” she said, ignoring the reference to me.
“And I do. That doesn’t mean I can’t love others.”
She winked at the DJ, who nodded to her with a smile.
My new wife turned away and headed toward the door, storming right past her grandmother, who was whispering into the ear of her dance partner, the cake girl.
On the way out, the priest managed to waylay her.
“My child, why are you so distraught?” He asked. “May I provide some counsel?”
“Yeah – do you know a good divorce lawyer?”
“But, my daughter, you’ve just been joined in love in the house of the Lord.”
Looking at me, she said, “He just made love to my mother in the stall of the bathroom.”
He looked at me.
“Oh, God – son, but, why?”
“The cloakroom was occupied.”
The father looked at us sheepishly.
“Young David and I have a special relationship.”
“I understand, Father. You are forgiven,” I said, mercifully.
“My nephew David – the ring bearer?” she said, making it about her.
“He bore more than that this evening,” I said
The father and I shared a knowing smirk.
The priest addressed her once again.
“Let us not get sidetracked. The issue here is forgiveness. Dear, can you forgive him for what he’s done?”
“My son, can you forgive her for not offering forgiveness?”
“Yes,” I said, confident that I could.
“Well, then, there you go,” said the father, smiling at her. “I think my job here is done.”
She just stared at him before starting to walk away. Then she hesitated and turned back.
“And, Father, I don’t want you corrupting young David anymore.”
“Any more than what?” he asked.
A low growl became audible that seemed to originate deep in her throat. I shrugged to the father. He shrugged back.
He had chosen a life without them, and I was really beginning to see why.
She slugged him in the gut before she turned and marched out of the reception toward our car – in which her family had arrived. I followed her. Some might think this tactic folly, but our limo had long since left. She was my ride home.
She opened the unlocked door but realized she didn’t have the keys – her dress didn’t even have pockets.
In one final, humbling act, she turned to me.
“Give me the keys.”
But I didn’t have the keys.
She reached into the back seat and grabbed her grandmother’s non-dancing cane.
She came at me again.
This time, I sidestepped it and caught her in my embrace. I would hold her until her mind was calmed by remembered love.
She caught a bit of my ear between her teeth and pulled in quickly alternating directions.
I released her in the hope that she would release my ear in kind.
I socked her in the gut.
She only bit harder.
“Listen, dear, we have an untenable situation here.”
“I don’t know what you mean. I find it very tenab-“
I pulled my ear from her vice-like bite. I couldn’t feel it, so I reached up and felt it. It seemed to still be there, though with my lover’s bite impression firmly embedded in it like some crazy love tattoo.
“We don’t have to be enemies,” I ventured
Her eyes lit with a ferocity I’d not known possible. They seemed luminescent, outshining the weak light of the moon.
“But we can be,” I offered as I backed up.
She came at me again. Instinctually, I dove into the car and slammed the door, locking it.
Even in that state, with my ear in that state, I thought I’d heard something jingle when I’d slammed the door. It was either coins or…
I reached into the door-side container to find the rage of the moment – the keys.
As she banged the glass inches from my face with the newly recovered cane, I decided we needed some time apart – things had been going downhill ever since the wedding.
My last memory of her, as she faded in my mirrors from the red of the taillights to the dim blue of moonlight, was the unmistakable sound of cane flung against trunk.