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(A short story of 2666 words)

Second Honeymoon


by Kate Mitchell

During her anniversary holiday in Egypt, Judy decides that one honeymoon is one too many, and it's time for a change.

Muttering under her breath, each angry phrase driving her forward, she marched through the lobby and out of the door. What an anniversary. Call this a second honeymoon?
After just a few steps, her forehead started throbbing and a wave of nausea pressed against the back of her teeth. Behind her, the door swished open and the cool breeze of air conditioning hit her legs. The concierge called, ‘Taxi, madame?’

Swallowing the nausea, shaking her head, she kept walking across the hotel forecourt. Ahead, the tops of the Pyramids were just visible above the line of stationary traffic. The stench of diesel burned her nostrils. Perspiration trickled between her breasts and her sunglasses slipped down her nose.

A wizened man in a galabeya blocked her way. ‘Carriage, lady?’ She followed the reins, held in one hand, to an emaciated horse.

She stepped around him. ‘No, thank you.’

‘Pyramid? Sphinx? Special fix price.’ He walked beside her, yanking the horse along behind him.

She stepped off the pavement, weaving between vehicles, losing his voice in the cacophony of revving engines, blaring horns and shouting.

It felt so different to the first time, their real honeymoon. Everything had changed. Or perhaps not. Maybe it was her memory that had changed the original, coloured it in with a rosy tint, like touching up an old photograph. Whatever made her think a second honeymoon could save this marriage? The belly dancing outfit was the final straw. It was over.

Time to call time. At the thought of calling time, she pictured Kevin as she had left him, slumped and scowling, in the balcony bar.

The whole thing had been a mistake...

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