February WEP challenge

I'm participating, for the first time ever, in the WEP challenge. 
WEP? Write, Edit, Publish. 
Hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee, all the information, rules and timing etc, can be found here and it may not be too late to sign up if you hurry.
Entries should be 1000 words or less, mine is considerably less at 336, and the theme for February is Valentine.

Here is my story:

A Guilted Rose
I never thought Valentine's Day was a big deal. I grew up in Australia and it was an American tradition, just like Halloween.

My husband and I married young, I was eighteen, he was twenty-two, and over the years we never celebrated Valentine's Day even though by then, it had been making an appearance in Australia for some time. 

Newspapers devoted pages to Valentine's Day messages, florists sold bunches of roses decorated with hearts and ribbons, even supermarkets had "special" boxes of chocolates with Happy Valentine's Day messages on them. Many in heart shaped boxes. Which didn’t make them any more delicious, nor any less calorific.

Year after year we said we didn't care about Valentine's Day, we didn't need a fancy card, or anything else to say that we loved each other. We scoffed at people paying exorbitant amounts for a bunch of flowers, or a special restaurant meal.

The years passed and things changed a little. We were each busy, the children were growing up, I went back to work, we grew apart. Things weren't the same anymore. We no longer even mentioned Valentine's Day.

Then one year, out of the blue, he presented me with a single red rose. 

An artificial rose, with artificial sparkly dew drops on the petals, presented in a cellophane tube wrapped around with a white paper ribbon decorated with tiny red spots.
I was a little embarrassed, but smiled and said "thank you, but I didn't get you anything".
He said that was okay, he hadn't expected I would.

I displayed the rose on my dressing table for a week, then stashed it high in the back of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day again. 

I knew it had been a guilt gift.  
A guilted rose. 

His new girlfriend had received the real roses and a box of chocolates too. 

When we later moved out of that house, I found the rose while packing and threw it out without a second thought.

word count 336   FCA


  1. Quite the heart breaker. Loved it! Well told. At first I thought they'd discover Valentine's Day as a way to save their marriage, but no, the guilted rose was the end.
    Wonderful entry for the WEP- Valentine Challenge. Thank you, River, for entering!

  2. Lovely story, though sad.
    Good luck.

  3. Yolanda Renee; thank you so much.

    joeh; I hope people like it and I'm prepared to learn from any critisicsm.

    Margaret-whiteangel; it was a sad time, but I got over it. We had grown apart, so there was no fighting, no bitterness, just an ending.

  4. I love it. And am sure that too many people have received guilt roses over the years. My WEP entry will go up tomorrow I think, after Words for Wednesday.

  5. How wonderful to welcome you to WEP, river. LOVE your entry. I wondered about the title...my romantic mind reading Gilded Rose...lol! You kept us guessing, wondering where this story was going, thinking of all the possibilities such as embracing Valentine's Day together as a couple...then, whammo! Smart move to put it away, then to throw it away. Ah, the Guilted Rose.

    Thanks for joining us this month, river. You're welcome anytime!

    Denise :-)

  6. Said it all with lots of words to spare River.

  7. Elephant's Child; I'm looking forward to reading your entry! Then I'll have to set my mind to the Wednesday Words.

    Denise Covey; I wondered how many people would "get" my little word play there.

    Tracy; a few words can say an awful lot sometimes.

  8. That is a poignant little story.

  9. Loved the guilted/gilded twist and swift heart break at the end-I held my breath and hoped for a sweet triumph but the "his new girlfriend" was such a stabby stab stabbness to my heart and I loved every second! The drama! The ache! Way to go! I enjoyed reading this despite the heartache, thanks for the trip! Well done.

  10. Sad but lovely. I hope it's not a true story. I hope it's fiction.

  11. I love the description. I thought it appropriate to give the reader the sense that Valentine's Day didn't mean anything to her. A fake rose all fancy to celebrate the end of a marriage, while the current girlfriend clearly will demand many more special gifts from her ex.

    Well done and welcome to WEP.

  12. HBF; welcome to drifting and thank you. The memory is so faded now, I actually enjoyed writing about it.

    Olga Godim; welcome to drifting. It is a true story.

    N.R.Williams; thank you and welcome to drifting. A true story from 1993 and the new girlfriend didn't last all that long.

  13. Oh, this is so sad. It hurts. When love is no longer the driving force for two people staying together, bitterness sets in and we become disillusioned.
    The story caught me up. I could feel her disappointment.

  14. Pat Garcia; welcome to drifting. It was sad at the time, but there was no bitterness, we'd long ago grown apart, just hadn't bothered separating. That came about a year later.

  15. A heartbreaking twist of a phrase. To become strangers with only the same memories but different hearts is one stage of love that huts so deeply. Sorry that you went through this. :-(

  16. Liked the play on words and the surprise-sad ending. Very well told in a tiny word count. Not all Valentine's are gilded. Look forward to reading more of your work.

  17. Roland D. Yeomans; welcome to drifting. it did hurt a little, but not as much as if we'd still loved each other. I'm grateful for that. We've kept in touch and are still friends, although there's a distance and not many meetings. Thank you.

    Nilanjana Bose; welcome to drifting and thank you. I don't do a lot of writing, I'm more of a reader. Thank you.

  18. The contrast at the end was perfect, and the story was emotionally charged and well wrought. I do hope a better match came along.

  19. A sad story but one I can relate to. Well written.

  20. A sad memory and too bad it had to be the first Valentine. The story draws you in and then the twist at the end. I hope someone gave her real roses after that.

  21. Aw, no that's unfortunate! Sad :( I would've got rid of the rose the second I knew about him cheating!

  22. Heartbreaking yet I couldn't stop reading. What a fabulous job. You kept me reading. Great job.


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