Gilding the Lily – Friday Fictioneers, February 2019

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


He watches her stumbling up the hill towards him, the hem of her gown soiled and wet.

He’s not hiding, simply waiting to be found.

“Why?” she says, on reaching him.

“We had something beautiful,” he says, “why wasn’t it enough?”

She shrugs, spreading her upturned palms.

“I wanted everything to be perfect.”

Down in the valley, their guests pick half-heartedly at the banquet, before retrieving their gifts and heading for home.

The village hall is silent, save for the gentle whisper of balloons nudging each other, and the endless drone of bluebottles feasting on the uncut, frosted pink wedding-cake.

Six hundred miles and two nights with less than three hours sleep – but still good to meet up with the family after way too long.  Inspiring photo-prompt this week from the Friday Fictioneers genial host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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87 Responses to Gilding the Lily – Friday Fictioneers, February 2019

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Melancholy, atmospheric, mysterious


  2. ceayr says:

    From ‘simply waiting to be found’ to ‘whisper of balloons nudging each other’ you create another marvel of simplicity.
    Fabulous as ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. endless drone of bluebottles feasting on the uncut, frosted pink wedding-cake. Love that line.
    Very atmopheric, Sandra


  4. pennygadd51 says:

    As always, you’ve written some beautiful descriptive prose. My favourite was “gentle whisper of balloons nudging each other”.


  5. Dear Sandra,

    Atmospheric and so sad…infuriating actually. Why did he wait for a wedding to break it off. Well done. Hope you’re able to get some rest now.




  6. Iain Kelly says:

    Better now than after the wedding perhaps? But a bitter, melancholy scene nonetheless.


  7. Tinged with sadness and regret. I’m getting the vibe of too little, too late. Well done.


  8. granonine says:

    I was reminded of Miss Havisham and her ruined wedding in “Great Expectations.” I’d love to know the story behind this story 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sad turn of events… more than one bride or groom has walked away from a ceremony 😦
    Nicely done! 😉


  10. Anita says:

    I love cake. Sad to see the pink wedding cake getting wasted!
    Reason of this must be serious. Why would anyone run away from her or his wedding?
    Have a great week.


  11. Indira says:

    Hi Sandra! I couldn’t understand, why did she go after him?


  12. Liz Young says:

    Love this – we chose the same title for our very different stories.


  13. notestowomen says:

    I liked the line about the balloons too. It’s a pity that things ended up the way they did.


  14. Another cake wasted, but perhaps it was the right thing to do. Better an end with horror, as a horror without end.


  15. Very sad to be jilted at the alter. I think she wante more than he wanted to give. The way your describe a scene is incredible, and this week is no exception. Brilliant!


  16. 4963andypop says:

    I picked the same title as well. Great minds…lovely lines as mentioned already. Very achingly wasteful and sad.


  17. Nobbinmaug says:

    You did an excellent job of constructing the ambience. Who broke it off? He obviously left, but neither of them seem to be sure what happened.


  18. Dale says:

    Beautifully done. Typical case of his wanting nothing to change and her wanting to change what is. The descriptions were so vivid I could picture the whole scenario. And truly, would have been less cruel to stop before they started but I get that whole swept along until…


  19. lisarey1990 says:

    The scene is painted very vividly. There is a great sense of mystery present.


  20. May this be her biggest heartache.


  21. The Runaway Groom. Loved the description of the scene at tbe wedding.


  22. Abhijit Ray says:

    You have painted the scene so well. In the end perfection was not to be. Human mind no one knows how it works!


  23. draliman says:

    I can well imagine the very personal interaction of the groom and bride-not-to-be versus the awkwardness of the guests back at the reception.


  24. It was never meant to be, it’s just a shame they didn’t realise earlier. A sorrowful story indeed.


  25. Rowena says:

    Beautifully written, Sandra. My cousin cancelled her wedding a couple of weeks beforehand. It was a bold and courageous move. Some members of the family had booked accommodation there and still got together. The thing I find strange with these endings is that these people were part of the family or on the cusp and then they suddenly disappear, even after years of marriage when they divorce. I wouldn’t wish this kind of pain on anyone.
    Best wishes,


    • Sandra says:

      Indeed. You seldom break up with just one person, there’s a whole slice of your social circle that goes with it. Still, that’s the way it goes, I guess. Thanks for reading.


  26. gahlearner says:

    As much as I’d like her to kick his butt hard, maybe I should congratulate her instead, she is certainly better off without him and that marriage would have failed anyway. Beautiful writing, I love all the details.


  27. I guess he got a little more than cold feet. Still, sometimes it’s for the best to get out while you still can.


  28. Violet Lentz says:

    Bad timing perhaps, but sounds like the right thing to do. Very expertly told.


  29. Beautifully told, I love the balloons nudging each other and the bluebottles’ endless drone. Fab stuff


  30. James McEwan says:

    A fear of crowds, a fear of attention or just didn’t like the cake. A lovely but sad story that illustrates the emotion perfectly.


  31. plaridel says:

    it looked somebody got cold feet at the last minute. not the first one and won’t be the last one either.


  32. Love the way you create the atmosphere in the hall – conveys such a strong sense of anti-climax. Nicely done


  33. So much story in so few words. Brilliantly done. The reader left wanting more. 🙂


  34. LucciaGray says:

    An intriguing and sad story. Well paced.


  35. subroto says:

    You have such a way with words Sandra, you should be a writer 😉
    That last paragraph is just brilliant.


  36. StuHN says:

    I’m taking it he was a wee bit commitment phobic in regards to the ceremony. Well written


  37. Beautifully done and heartbreaking in its sorrow.
    Something (almost) like this happened to a friend of mine, when the wedding was called off the very night before. In the long run the cancellation was a blessing (it became apparent later on that there were issues that no amount of love, time, or patience would have resolved), but in the immediate, the devastation was shattering. We did not know what to do other than to gather around her and comfort her and be with her as she waded through what to her felt worse than a death. And in some ways, a death it was. Of dreams. Of plans. Of trust. Of hope. Of funds that had been spent and were owed and took years to replenish.
    There was a good ending, though. For some years later she bravely took the plunge and said yes to who was — by all witnesses and all two decades since and counting — her true soulmate, a man who stood beside her and pledged to love her and be forthright with her in all things. Granted I don’t know his mind, but I know my friend, and she is happy.
    May a happy ending come be the gift for the jilted bride in your story.
    Well told!


  38. Margaret says:

    They had ‘something beautiful’ but she wanted perfection. Lots to ponder in that. You’ve captured the essence of the situation and the relationship. Masterful.


  39. This is heartbreaking… how you can destroy something by just making too big… afterwards its always too late listen.


  40. Lynn Love says:

    So very melancholic and mysterious and the details are lovely – those nudging balloons! Dangerous to aspire to perfection when nothing in life quite reaches those high expectations. Wonderful stuff Sandra


  41. Sandra, as I read your story, each line brought a visual for every word. A wonderful flow with an unhappy ending. Perhaps, perfection is impossible to achieve. An engaging story.
    Isadora 😎


  42. Love the description. It would be nice if people had second thoughts well before money was spent, guests brought gifts, and others hurt.


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