Marigold – A Short Story for March Writers’ Workshop

tiffany brooch

For the March Writers’ Workshop

The prompt I chose was, ‘Reluctantly, she let the flower fall from her hand, watching as it spiralled down’.

Beth held on to the railing, as the engines of the ship coughed into life. On the shore, a crew member slipped the knotted rope off the mooring, and hopped aboard. The ship shuddered slightly, then moved off.

Pulling her coat more tightly around her, Beth watched as the city retreated, swallowed by silver silk fog. When she’d announced her intention to take a boat trip, her colleagues had warned her to wrap up warm, the bitter cold la bise wind was forecast. She’d laughed and told them that she’d have to find her warm coat first, as it was still in a box in the cellar, along with her boots and dozens of scarves.

They weren’t joking about the wind, she thought, as she thrust her ice cold hands into her pockets. With a sharp intake of breath, she withdrew her right hand, and stared at the blood gathering on the end of her finger. What on earth?

More cautiously this time, she explored her pocket and found the brooch, its spiky pin exposed through her carelessness. Beth stared at it, remembering the first time she’d seen it. The excitement she’d felt when she opened the familiar egg blue box and seen the marigold – her favourite flower.

The brooch blurred, as she stared at it, and for the first time, allowed herself to remember what came later. The apologetic phone call from their landlord, about the missing rent payment. Finlay’s rage when she questioned him, her bewilderment when he screamed in her face. She was ungrateful. A bitch. A whore.

The cruel wind blew in her face, as her cheek burned in the memory of that shocking first slap. And then his tears, his remorse, his promises. He was always very good at apologising.

“Look, Harry. The sun is coming out! We might just see the Alps after all”, an American voice broke through her thoughts. She blinked tears away furiously, unwilling to reveal her feelings to the chattering holidaymakers beside her. What did they know about life? About love?

Looking back down at the brooch in her hand, she felt the first weak ray of sunshine on her face. Despite herself, she smiled, hearing the voice of her best friend Alex in her head, “It’s a SIGN!”, she would joke.

It was a sign. It was time to let go of the past. She let the flower fall from her hand, watching as it spiralled down then disappeared into the lake.

 

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