Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
And here we are a year later doing it all over again. Today’s prompt was to write a story inspired by a song title and I spotted ‘Anniversary Waltz’ by Englebert Humperdink from a list. Seeing as Englebert is our Eurovision Song Contest singer I thought it was perfect timing, so here is my 349-worder which brings brought back Eddie and Thelma from Tuesday Tales story Eddie’s fault.
The Dancing Stopped in 1983
Eddie stares at his wedding photo. He knows what people say, that they remember something like it was yesterday, but that’s why he remembers… because everything’s so different.
He remembers how happy they were, like any other newly-married couple – or at least the ones genuinely in love.
May 26th. Every May 26th Eddie would take Thelma dancing; a posh restaurant with an intimate dance floor, an old converted cinema in front of a hundred strangers (much like his wedding day), a beach.
Wherever they were in the world (usually Britain, Thelma doesn’t like flying), they’d find somewhere to dance. Thelma was convinced the romance of it would help them have a baby. Eddie just loved to dance and, of course, loved to try for a baby. Back then it was all fun but as the months went on, the fun stopped and the crying started, then in 1983 the crying stopped with the shake of a doctor’s head. So did the dancing.
The doctor was sorry that Eddie would never have children. Eddie. Not her, just Eddie.
Thelma stayed with him convinced the doctors were wrong (they saw another three, just to be sure) and by then it was too late anyway. Thelma’s biological clock had run out of baby-making batteries.
“We can adopt,” Eddie had said cheerfully but knew that was a no-go when he’d ducked the flying mug. His favourite. She’d bought it for him for his birthday.
“I don’t want someone else’s!” she’d growled, “I want yours!” but the light he’d remembered from all those anniversaries, all those dances, had gone, and now their lives were like a dance; but with unfamiliar partners, trying not to tread on each others’ toes, a polite smile every now and then, one-sided, but at least it was a dance.
The waltzes may have stopped in 1983 but for Eddie she’s still Thelma, the raven-haired beauty that would throw her head back as he spun her round, the woman who would have made a wonderful mother but now couldn’t even mother his cat. The cat that had started the end.
May 26th, by the way, is Eurovision Song Contest Day this year.
If you like working from prompts you might be interested in my 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook (Vol 1).
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.