audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, relationships, short story

Made For You

White dresses on white hangers against a white background.
Charisse Kenion via Unsplash

It’s always been considered bad luck to make your own wedding dress. It implies a life of want if you can’t outsource such an important task, or maybe a life of never-ending work. That means a steady procession of happy brides-to-be in my bridal shop. These days I leave the actual stitching to my dedicated and skilful seamstresses. I prefer to interact with my customers and bask in their excited energy, spilled without any thought to the cost.

Being married isn’t essential in this business, but it definitely helps. My engagement ring is not just a symbol of love, it’s one and a half carats of trust. Brides love to buy their wedding dress from someone who understands their mindset after all. And the man who gave me his promise is six feet of wonderful who loves me dearly. Sometimes I pinch myself, because how did I get so lucky?

My last customer of the day is radiant. Accompanied by her mother, Rosalind wants only the best. They haven’t set a date yet but she can’t wait to start looking. I pull eight gowns and she looks truly wonderful in all of them.

While Rosalind gets dressed her mother and I chat, the usual about luck and love and soulmates. A photo of them smiling together is proudly produced. Rosalind’s mother wipes away happy tears. Look, they’re made for each other. I look, and I can’t breathe. I lock and bolt the door after they’re gone but it’s too late.

Somewhere along the line, I missed something.

The day I leave, I pack everything except my shears. I take great care of my dressmaking tools even though I don’t use them often, because keeping a sharp edge is essential to a clean cut. His jackets will look normal at first glance, until he pulls them and finds sleeves removed and linings slashed.

When I reach the last one, his favourite Italian wool suit, I can’t bring myself to vandalise its exquisite workmanship. I know how much work it takes to construct something so beautiful. Instead I leave parting gifts; my wedding ring on the counter – and raw eggs smashed in each of the suit pockets.

We shared everything. Soon he too will discover something rotten hiding in the dark.

Liked this? Sign up for my email list for more and claim your free guide to creativity. Thanks for reading!

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry


AngeloMazzotti via pixabay


I have only myself to blame. And you of course, but you’re not here, are you? I walk alone with my thoughts and self-recriminations.

You fell in step with me and we walked a path, uncertain but less perilous because we were together. I believed we were equals.

I should not have listened.

My history, yes, I thought that sack of stones was behind me, sorted and catalogued, stripped of hurt.

I should have remembered.

A pat on the back, a smile, a confidence shared. Comrades, or so I thought. A friend’s blow unseen until the final moment, sharp blade sliding into exposed skin.

I should not have dropped my guard.

(A gasp, not a scream, because this cannot be happening.)

Ruby drops pump from my scandalised heart onto stony ground. No pain, just numbing cold as you step away, carelessly wiping my blood from your hands.

Now you seek a safer harbour. Take your traitorous smile and self-serving machinations, go where you will.

I am the strength that protected you, but in the end you gave me nothing but a wound.

Another scar. I walk on alone.

One day, I will learn.

audio, blog, Pat Aitcheson writes, poetry


a poem

LeeTravathan via pixabay


Listen to this poem: 

did you ever see someone get shot
or hear bad news

they swallow


blink again




be        happening



one step back
a hole in the chest
okay, they say

watching with distant fascination


okay but

the real pain
has not yet begun


Friend request

the reply Facebook won’t let me send

ottavio via pixabay

Funny how life goes, isn’t it?

We shared so much over the years, and yet here we are. Yours is the last name I expected to see on my timeline.

First things first. I knew your ex-husband before you did, at college. It was a twist of fate that brought us together, working in the same city, and then in the same firm as colleagues who became friends.

We produced four babies within five years. Remember how people joked that they should avoid sitting on the same chair as us? We laughed, and we raised toddlers together. Those birthday parties, overlapping guest lists, Sunday lunches. It was fun.

I hope you knew how I supported you through the difficult end of your marriage years later, shielding you from stress at work. That’s what a good colleague and friend should do, right?  You invited us to dinner with your new partner at your new house. We talked and laughed over a casserole and a bottle of good red.

I didn’t see any cracks, everything seemed fine. Maybe I was blind.

I thought you were just busy with your life changes, but you were a little distant. No worries, we’re all dealing with our issues. We chatted on the phone, trying to steer a way forward for our firm. Then came the meeting at which you demolished me. You were unhappy with everything I’d done, everything I was doing right then and planning in the future.

No knock on my door, no private chat, just an explosion of criticism and bad blood.  All our encounters afterwards were underpinned by anger and hostility. I never saw it coming, but you don’t expect a friend to bury a dagger in your heart.

That’s why it hurt so much.

Two weeks later you resigned. By email. Finally, you gave me a taste of how you treated your ex, throwing threats and lawyers into what should have been a simple agreed exit. It all left a very bad taste.

I still don’t understand how or why it played out this way.  But I accept that you have moved on. If I hurt you unknowingly, I am sincerely sorry.  My regret is that we couldn’t talk about it, and allow me to make amends.

So, your friend request? I must decline.  Looking back, I realise that the foundations of our friendship had been eroding for a long time, long before you dropped your bombs and walked away. It would be foolish, would it not, to do the same thing again and expect a different outcome? We stand on opposite sides of the river, and there’s no way back.

We can never be friends. You didn’t just burn your bridges, you poisoned the wells and salted the earth in your wake.