Monday, 18 December 2017

December WEP challenge - The End is the Beginning - another story set in Paris.

Whoa! December already! Time for holiday celebrations a'plenty. Also time for the final WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) challenge for 2017. We've already prepared all the challenges for 2018, so if you enjoy a writing challenge, go HERE to read all about it. We'd love to have you.


The December WEP challenge is The End is the Beginning. Pretty open, wouldn't you say? The blurb said: 
A flashback? A new start? A cascading change? A branching off point? An end and a beginning? Celebrate year's end with us!

Here I am, all fuelled up after my latest sojourn in Paris, so of course, my flash fiction is set in that beautiful city. It's probably more suited to Romantic Friday Writers, but, heck, what's wrong with a bit of romance? My story offers a new start, an end and a beginning,

               The City Where Love Lived and Died

It’s our wedding day. May 25, 2011. The most romantic day of my life is finally here and I’m spending it in the most romantic city in the world. Ooh la la! Can I take it all in? Everywhere I look there is beauty – Notre Dame's aged bricks and soaring buttresses being kissed by sunset – the lock-filled bridge, the Pont des Arts that joins the Left Bank and Right Bank – lovers sharing wine and baguettes, dangling their legs in the Seine and throwing bread to the ducks. 
As I walk beside the river, my candy pink dress with its French Poodle embroidery flares around my knees. Pink satin heels complement my black net stockings. I clutch the tiny posy of white roses which my darling Mitch handed to me on the steps of the town hall, known here as the mairie. Their scent envelopes me as I walk arm in arm with my beautiful man feeling oh so French.
Mitch, so handsome in his black suit, kisses the white gold and diamond ring on my finger – Could this day get any better?
‘Let’s do it!’ he says.
We walk to our chosen spot midway across the Pont des Arts. Mitch reaches into his pocket and flips the copper lock in his hands.
We gaze at the token as if it were made of solid gold. 
‘I had it engraved,’ he says.
Wrapping my arms around his waist, I read the inscription – ‘Capt'nFlynn, Mastarata  25-May-2011’.

Yes, this day could get better. 'You used our special names.'
We loop the lock over the wire and click it shut. Mitch reaches for me and we kiss. I hear a passing tourist snap our photo. I giggle, wondering if they'll give it a caption: The Kiss.
‘Let’s come back every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary,’ I say.
‘I can’t think of any better way to celebrate our love,’ Mitch says. 
We kiss again to seal the deal.


As I cross the bridge between the Latin Quarter and Notre Dame, I think to myself how apt it is that the skies are all smudgy, not that brilliant Parisian grey-blue of two years ago.
Nevertheless, I came here for a reason, no matter how painful. I hold my breath as I stand on the timber deck of the Pont des Arts once again and search through the multitude of love locks. It’s a wonder the bridge doesn’t collapse under this weight of metal. 
Finally, there it is - still bright and shiny in the gloom. I pick it up and rub my thumb over our pet names.
I attach the tiny plastic envelope to the lock handle, then I collapse onto a bench and sob for our fractured love.

Darling Mitch

I could have trusted you instead of showering you with jealousy.
I could have travelled with you instead of putting my career first.
I could have forgiven you instead of throwing you out without listening to you.

Your Dearest Polly

We were meant to be together, forever. 
 I stroll along the Seine, then order mussels in garlic cream sauce at what was our favourite restaurant in the Latin Quarter. When the attentive waiter brings the bowl of dark, half open shells, pours my wine and places the bread basket before me, I cannot eat or drink. 
It’s futile to retrace steps from the past; those steps have been obliterated with time.

The 17th Century Hotel le Relais is not at all romantic without Mitch. Climbing the winding stairs is just a leg-numbing chore. Surely they could install a lift. 
The fifth floor at last. The Romantic Room with the etched carvings on the ancient door. From the window I’ll be able to gaze at Notre Dame and watch the old lady turn golden in the sunset, watch the tourists snapping pictures, watch the thousands entering her Gothic doors, hoping to find solace as they gasp at the beauty of the rose window.
I take a deep breath and rattle around with the ancient key. 
The door opens before I find the slot. I step back in fright, clasping my chest and breathing jerky breaths.
‘Mitch! What are you doing here?’
‘Same as you, I imagine.’
‘I read your letter.’
‘Then you—’
He holds out our wedding album. 
I'd left it on the desk under the window. 
‘I saw this. How could I have put what we have at risk? I’m a fool.’
‘Marrying you was the happiest day of my life. That album reminds me of our special day.’
‘I’m sorry sweetheart. It wasn’t you who needed reminding, it was me. I’ll do better. What I did was despicable, but...will you take me back? I’m so sorry. I love you...I love you...’
I entwine my arms around his neck and soak his beautiful white shirt with my tears.
‘I love you Mitch. I don’t want a life without you. I've missed you so...’
His arms feel so right, around me where they belong – could this day get any better? 
It’s about to.

NOTE: The ‘love locks’, despised by most of the French population, were removed from the Pont des Arts on June 1, 2015. When I returned this visit, I was happy to see that Pont Neuf is now adorned with ‘love locks’. Obviously, the City of Love didn’t want to be known as the City Where Love Died.

WORDS: 844

Love locks on the Pont Neuf - corridors and corridors of them leading down to the Seine.
Taken by moi in September, 2017.

PLEASE click on names in my sidebar which have DL next to them for more entries.

Thanks for reading.
Happy Holidays!



D.G. Hudson said...

Lovely, Denise, and it seems to me that the City which most people associate with love, as in Casablanca and many other films about Paris, should tolerate this visual representation of love and hope. It's like the Oscar Wilde monument in Pere Lachaise which lost something when all the kiss prints were removed (and yes, I know why). I still have a photo I took with all the kisses still there. That was love for a writer's words and what he stood for.

Pat Garcia said...

I love this story because it speaks of the healing essence of loving and forgiving. Beautifully written my dear. At the end, my heart rejoiced.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a successful crossover into 2018.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat Garcia

Pat Hatt said...

Sure a ton of love locks there. Oh how things can go in life when one focuses on more after that oh so special day comes to be. Hindsight can be helpful for the future though...or not, if he doesn't take her back.

cleemckenzie said...

Ahh. Sweet and love-filled. Thanks for this wonderful story at this time of year. May 2018 bring more good stories into the world.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, that's a lot of locks.
They learned a valuable lesson - forgive.

Olga Godim said...

Beautiful story, Denise. It also inspired me to look up Pont des Arts and read about the locks and the partial collapse of the bridge panels because of them. The Parisians should've taken a page from the American tourist industry and started selling plastic light-weight locks, probably pink and heart-shaped, long ago. I know it sounds cheesy, but at least, such locks wouldn't endanger their architecture. :))

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Olga. Somehow I don't think the French would go for plastic cheese! The new ones on Pont Neuf are still heavy and shiny as you can see!

Denise Covey said...

They sure did and it is.
Happy Christmas, Alex!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Lee. And I hope all goes well with you and hubby! Love the sentiment of 2018 bringing more good stories into this sad, at times, world.

Denise Covey said...

Ah, Pat, he takes her back all right!

Denise Covey said...

The healing essence of love and forgiveness. I love that, Pat. Thank you.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and the very best blessings for 2018!

Denise Covey said...

That was sad about the kisses in Pere Lachaise, but I'm sure there's lots of such stories. I was pleased to see the locks relocated, and more than ever!

The Armchair Squid said...

Awww... That's sweet.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks AS!

Botanist said...

Sweet story. We didn't get married in Paris but we did take our honeymoon there. I found it a city of extreme contrasts. Never heard of that tradition with the locks, you learn something every day! Hope you enjoy Christmas with your family.

Denise Covey said...

Thank you Ian. I'm sure I will. You too!

Deborah Drucker said...

It is nice that these lovers are giving themselves a second chance and that Polly is able to forgive Mitch. Nice to get married and reunited in Paris too. Happy Holidays!

desk49 said...

Love that starts
and then ends
before starting again
until they part forever
or never lets go

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Ellis!

Denise Covey said...

I thought it a nice little holiday story. Thanks Deborah.

Elephant's Child said...

Lovely. Truly lovely.
How nice to finish on, not a hopeful, but a triumphant note as love defeats despair.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Sue. Nice way to go out in 2017!

Liz Leighton said...

This is a wonderful story about love and hope. I like how treated and brought out the concept of the fragility of relationships. I think we've all been guilty of taking another person for granted and not treating them the way we should everyday. It has a great ending that depicts how love and forgiveness can overcome those obstacles a lead to a second chance--a new beginning. I enjoyed reading it,

Adura Ojo said...

This is lovely, Denise. I love how you paint the French setting with your words.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Beautiful! I saw love locks in Budapest, too.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Liz. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Adura. It's pretty obvious I'm in love with France, right?

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Tyrean. Yes, they're spreading! There's even a few in Brisbane which the council keeps a close eye on.

Keith's Ramblings said...

A delightful tale set in a city I love and travel to by train often. You really did it justice with your words.

Denise Covey said...

Thank you so much Keith. It's obviously my favourite city in the world. I'm glad it's loved by you, also.

dolorah said...

Ah, love and forgiveness. Does it truly exist in today's world? This was very sweet Denise.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Donna! Why not, eh?

Sally said...

A lovely story.

Yolanda Renée said...

Leave it to the city of love to come with something so unique and sweet! Glad they wised up. Residents and tourists always clash. Love the story, reality for many marriages! I also like that we seemed to be on the same wave length, well, for a minute anyway. :)
Yes, I'm up and trying now to get caught up.
I hope your family holiday was everything you wanted it to be!
Wishing you the Happiest of New Year's!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Yolanda. I’m one exhausted puppy. Just need some chill time now.
Happy New Year to you!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Sally.

Nilanjana Bose said...

That's truly a lovely new beginning! Paris is the perfect setting for it, too. I'm glad they found a way out of their misunderstanding to start a new love story.

My apologies for being so late, but back now out of the chaos of travel and reading again.

Happy New Year 2018, Denise! it's going to be a super special one.

L.G. Keltner said...

I always liked the idea of the love locks, and I enjoyed where you went with your story. Paris is a great city I was fortunate to visit when I was 17. I'd love to go back someday!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise - I read it earlier but wanted to spend some time taking the story in ... and now I need to read up on Pont Neuf ... I don't know Paris that well.

Love the romantic story line - could so easily be in a film ... I could see them wander their own ways as they journeyed towards being together again ...and those locks mean so much to couples. Now I want to visit Paris and see the locks, feel the romanticism ...

Lots more stories here ... before and afters, yet during this romantic get together again ... long may they stay happy and in love ...

Happy New Year - and thanks for putting on WEP - good luck with the winner selection ... cheers Hilary

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Nila! I'm glad you liked it! Glad you're back safe from your travels.

Denise Covey said...

I hope you get back L.G.

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Hilary. I hope you do get back and wander around amongst the locks one day soon! It's magical and inspirational. Yes, this could easily become a book...