This page is has the opening paragraphs of my published short stories.
THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART
My husband had sacrificed our love to his manly pursuits in the misty, green-mud countryside. His dawn trampings in the hills left me lonely in bed. I thought early risers were early bedders. I was wrong. His evenings, and sometimes half his nights, were spent casting his fishing line in the rush of the becks. He wanted a fish, a slimy, cold-blooded creature.
They say one love drives out another. Our early passion for each other was born of the greedy physical attraction of opposites: me the cream-skinned blonde and him the swarthy man. Our marriage was celebrated with shared delights in eating and loving. His tongue tasted of paprika but felt slivery silver against my skin. He brought the sweet smell of fertility to our bed where he told me I tasted of caviar. We loved as we ate, with hands, mouths and noses.
I blame myself. The night before our wedding, my mother’s advice to me was, ‘Remember, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’ Foolishly, I believed her. Over the years, I wasted my talents on stews cooked with brown meat and soft red and orange vegetables and diverted my energies into piles of fresh clean laundry. But I was not in my element. I was a fish out of water.
This story was written out of my draft manuscript for The Baby Box.*
The story had to be complete, not an extract from a longer piece of writing. To achieve this I altered the beginning and the conculsion of the incident. This story was first published by MIROnline, the online prescence of writing at Birkbeck College, London University. The full text is here: MIROline.org
MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER
While the papers were full of Kennedy’s assassination, my news was that mum had given permission for me to spend the following weekend at Nick’s.
Straightaway I rang him.
I heard the disbelief in his voice. ‘For the whole weekend? Overnight?’
‘You suggested it.’
I didn’t tell mum that what he’d actually said was, I’d like to get you all alone on my double bed nor did I tell Nick that what mum had actually said was, ‘What’s his address? We’ll look up the road in the A-Z.’ And then, ‘It’s a posh road. That’s all right then.’
Honestly! I blushed for her. But still I said to Nick, ‘Can’t wait to see your house. You’ll call for me on Saturday?’
I was sixteen and still at school. Nick had finished with all that and was working at a printing firm specialising in classy posters, reproductions of Monet, Constable, that kind of thing.
He told me, ‘Totally male workforce with pictures of half-naked crumpet on the walls. The pay’s peanuts but the boss is an understanding man and lets me stay on during the evening, preparing my own plates and running off prints. Stage design, that’s what I’m going into next.’
I didn’t believe all the stuff about leading an arty life but I was excited about the forthcoming weekend. I wanted to be with him. I was in love.