Scott and Sarah were days away from their honeymoon, excited to be going to Paris, France after their sunny and warm wedding reception in Boston, MA. They couldn’t think of a more romantic place to go than Paris. To be in love and to be in Paris, enchanting and delightful, they imagined long walks, holding hands on the small, cobbled streets and kissing furtively behind hidden doorways. They couldn’t wait for the chocolate croissants, standing in the sunshine, many cups of lush, thick coffee with cream, a different apple or pear pastry for every meal…..the intoxicating smell of freshly baked bread wafting on the side streets.
They arrived two days after their wedding reception, having spent one night in a luxurious room overlooking the Boston Harbor, a gift from their friends. They had been driven there from the reception, Sarah, still in her wedding dress and white sneakers, Scott in his immaculate dark blue suit and maroon tie. Sarah refused to change into another dress, it was her wedding after all and she delighted in seeing other people point at her and gasp: “a bride!” When little girls with pigtails looked at her in awe she smiled and waved at them. Watching a bride, when she was a girl, was always magical.
Their plane left in the evening and they flew on TWA straight to Paris. They arrived, excited, happy, in love, dreams dancing in their eyes. The weather the first day was colder than they thought it would be. Sarah, secretly thanked her mother who had insisted she bring a raincoat in her luggage.
The sky was gray and dark, winds were chilly and it rained within the hour. They made their way to their tiny hotel, dragging their suitcases through city streets until they finally reached their destination. Sarah was not happy about that, there were no rolling suitcases back then and she was tired, cranky and hungry and just wanted to close her eyes. Scott refused to take a taxi, absolutely refused, Sarah was furious and thus their honeymoon started.
Every day of their vacation in France was cold and it rained every single day. “Rain, rain, go away” Sarah sang out loud but she only got angrier when the rain did not let up. To try to get away from the weather they decided to rent a car and head South, they would salvage their honeymoon. However, wherever they went, the rain followed, the winds blew freezing air and the skies were dark gray.
Sarah was there over her birthday and they had eaten lunch in a rest stop on a toll road. They both ate chicken with rice pilaf. It tasted fine, but within an hour, Sarah was throwing up violently, over and over again. It was the worst case of food poisoning she had ever had. “Happy Birthday, ME” she muttered to herself, swishing her mouth out with Coke. They cautiously drove to a quaint, old town in the country where they stayed in a beautiful, old castle. From the outside it looked like a movie set but once inside it was eery and dark. There was no light in the hallways and in their room except for one hanging bulb, swinging from a thin rope.
They called it “the honeymoon from hell”, they couldn’t wait to get back to the US and their apartment. It was the worst vacation they had ever taken. Once home, Sarah, who had packed only one warm, black sweater as an after thought, ended up wearing it every day for two solid weeks. The first time they lit a fire in their fireplace, she tossed the black sweater in the fireplace, along with their memories and happily watched them burn up in flames.