Same Old

L.B. Zumpshon kicks off this month's theme with a short story of marital tradition and familial expectation – with a dark twist.

by L.B. Zumpshon

She stared down at her wedding dress, the same old one her mother and grandmother had worn, and felt a strange nothingness. She hadn’t been sure how she would feel. She knew it wouldn’t be love, since she had never even seen her husband-to-be. Pride, maybe, as she was continuing the family tradition. But everyone else was so proud for her, they left no pride for herself. So she sat, empty and waiting.

At last, her mother opened the door.

‘It is time.’

She sighed, and pulled her veil over her face. Her mother gave her an encouraging smile, then disappeared into the church.

She walked down the aisle towards her groom, ignoring all of the eyes upon her. She tried to analyse him, just from his posture and expression. He smiled, nervous. A small smile spread on her lips, and she wondered why she wasn’t nervous too. After all, it was the first day of the rest of her life; nothing would be the same again.

They ran through the ceremony like a well-rehearsed play. She noted the look of relief on her husband’s face when he unveiled her. Again she smiled, the smile never quite reaching her eyes.

After a long day, she followed her husband into the bedroom, the encouraging stares of her family following her in. He turned around and looked at her with a grin. They giggled.

‘Well this is awkward,’ he said.

She nodded, walking over to a sofa in the corner of the room, and sat down on its edge. He moved over to the bed, jumped into it, then turned around to face her.

‘I promise I won’t do anything without your permission; you might as well come and sit down next to me, wife.’

His eyes pleaded with her to comply.

‘Did you have any doubts about this, us?’ she asked, remaining seated.

‘Yes, of course, but our families are counting on us. And I felt something between us, the first time I saw your face, just as I lifted your veil. Didn’t you?’

She looked at the wall, contemplating.

‘I suppose we might as well get this over with.’

She got up and undid her dress, stepping out of it as her mother and grandmother must also have done. He gasped, and started undressing, as fast as he could, falling over himself as he did. When they were both in their underwear, she walked over to him and pushed him backwards on the bed. She took off his underwear and her own, and straddled his eager body. He still had a goofy grin on his face. They thrust a few times, his hands exploring her naked frame. She was instantly bored.

She reached under the pillow and pulled out the ceremonial knife. It took him a few moments to register, distracted as he was.

‘What the hell is that, what are you doing?!’

He tried to pull back, but she wouldn’t let him.

‘It’s like you said, our families are counting on us. It’s tradition.’

‘To threaten your husband with a knife? That’s not funny! Put it away, missus.’

She sighed. ‘Oh dear, you misunderstood . . . I must perform the traditional rite of passage. I must eat my husband’s heart. It is the done thing, I’m afraid.’

‘What the?!’ he screamed, trying to push her off, away, but she was too strong.

She rolled her eyes and got to work. Tradition is such a messy business, she thought.

L.B. Zumpshon | @justlieblog

Lieke is a lapsed cognitive neuroscientist PhD who enjoys blogging about writing. She is currently a freelance writer and copy-editor looking to build a career out of words.