We were walking on the beach in Embo in the North of Scotland, September 2016.
Often, walking together is a great time to chat, sharing thoughts and dreams, decisions and schemes, but today we were silent. There was a heavy mist on the North Sea and the horizon was hiding, taking our words with it. There was something about the haar: it silenced birds, the wind, the whisper of long grass as well as our words – but it couldn’t silence the continuous rolling waves as they broke onto the beach – and it couldn’t silence our thoughts.
Often, thoughts would tumble out of our silence and we would share them. There was no reason not to today – yet we didn’t. We were enjoying a world shrouded in a soft, white veil, from which rays of sunshine struggled to break free while the sea, ruthless, relentless, ripped through to crash on the shore.
I didn’t ask what my lovely hubby was thinking, but concentrated on the story that was forming in my mind.
We were here on vacation with our family and there, set like a pearl in the middle of the two weeks, was our anniversary. Forty-nine years of married bliss.
But that’s never true, is it?
No-one is perfect, so no two imperfect people can forge a perfect marriage – not even us. We’d had ups and downs – never ins and outs – and some years were better than others – but we’d never not wanted to be married to one another.
Our children asked how we wanted to celebrate our 50 years of marriage next year, our Golden Wedding Anniversary.
I got to thinking about it. What did we want? What would we do? What were the children plotting? We told them, ‘Nothing much. Nothing expensive, no silly gold ornaments that we don’t need, golden gifts that we’ll never use. It would be nice just to be together.’
The conversation still swirled in my mind as my husband and I walked in our misty, magical silence.
Then, in a sudden rush of gold, the sun won the struggle to light the world, compelling us to pause to take a few photographs.
I stood at the water’s edge.
Wave after wave of water rolling in, breaking with cold white froth over the landscape of the beach – year after year of life rolling in, breaking with warm love over the landscape of our marriage.
But what if?
What if it had been different?
So I wrote a story about a love that spanned more than fifty years.
Or did it?
Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.
Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?
When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.
Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?
Gold Plated is with the publisher now so the paperback should be launched soon. Meantime, it’s already available on Amazon Kindle.