New Haven

This was a short story submitted for a competition. The rules were

  • The first word must be NEW
  • Must include the words NINETEEN, DESERT and PRESENT
  • Needs to include some kind of list.
  • no more than 500 words.



“New! Pfft. Nothing new about this place” as her eyes scan the place of her youth.

The wooden chairs recline askew, their colours faded and peeled. Few wooden slats remain on the jetty, crusty sea urchins making their home in the undisturbed crevices of the once lively port.

For a moment she allows the memories of that summernineteen years ago to creep into the present. Carefree sunbaking on that jetty, swimming under a midnight moon, flirty laughter, first kisses and teenage love. First love. Tom. Her body fires with the recollection. His hands charting her tanned summer body, gently nudging his fingers into unmapped territories before advancing further across her breasts, down her stomach and…

“Katie is that you? O-M-G it is you! What are doing back here? Its been a while since you suddenly took off to the desert?”

Kate turns to see a wiry bodied woman stumble across the long grass in her strappy heels.

“Josie? Hi. Yes, it’s me Kate. Got a few things to sort out after mum’s death”

“Oh yes, sorry to hear about your mum. We thought you would be back for the funeral but you didn’t make it?”

“No, I was out on muster, in that desert place and didn’t get the news for a few weeks.”

“Gosh. I don’t know if I could be so…nonchalant about not making it to my mother’s funeral. But then again you hadn’t seen her for how many years?”

“It’s been nineteen years since I saw my mother. Did you move away at all?”

“Me? No, never really wanted to” asserted Josie in a voice that was mercilessly strident. “I married Tom, you would remember him from school? We divorced a few years ago. He doesn’t know how to keep his manly parts in his pants. I’m living back at home and doing some work for Daddy.”

“You married Tom? Swim star Tom?”

“Yes, surely did. He was lovely at first but…well we won’t go there, its old news now.”

As Josie drones about changes around New Haven Kate processes Tom with Josie. Obviously, his appetite for older women had waned, or the desire for a comfy lifestyle more appealing.

“Actually, Daddy will be pleased you are here to finalise the sale of house. He is going to buy it and turn it into a resort for divorcees. He said I’m going to be the manager. We have already started a list of things that we will do the place to make it all modern. Who would have thought I would be a Resort Manager!”

“Woah! Your father thinks I’m selling?”

“Why wouldn’t you? You haven’t been here for years.” Slowly Josie realises Kate has other plans.

“You are not selling?”

“No Josie, I’m not selling.”

She wanted to shout I left nineteen years ago because of my mother. She was like Tom, couldn’t keep her legs together – they made a good pair.

It was time to let the past lie.

“I’m coming home.”

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