Danielle Dreger

Second Honeymoon 


        It was Carl’s idea to go to Croatia, but it was Sylvia’s idea to go to the nude beach. As soon as Carl booked the trip, Sylvia got a gym membership. She cut sugar out of her diet.

        “I don’t know what the big deal is,” Carl said. “I see you naked all the time.”

        “But other people haven’t.” And off to Zumba she went.

        “Are you happy now?” Carl asked as they spread out their travel towels on the rocky sand. He could feel the indentation of each tiny pebble against his butt.

        This is not a real beach.” Carl had grown up in Florida and was an expert in beaches. “It’s like we’re sitting in cat litter.”

        Sylvia rubbed lotion over her body. “How would you know what that feels like? You’ve never owned a cat.” She surveyed the beach. Plat had once been voted “Croatia’s Sexiest Beach” by the Travel Channel and judging by the two twenty-something men stretched out on a blanket ten yards away, the Travel Channel was right. “And yes, I’m happy.” She handed Carl the bottle.

        He waved the lotion away and looked up at her through the mirrored sunglasses that made him look like a cop in a 1970’s porn film. “I won’t burn. Besides, we’re staying here long.”

        Carl was wrong about that. Sylvia had worked too hard over the last four months to spend a half-hour at the beach. She might not be as toned as the girl walking toward the water’s edge right now, but Sylvia was proud of what she’d accomplished. She didn’t feel forty. She felt better than she had in years. The sun warming her back, the smell of suntan lotion, the symphony of waves hitting the rocks along the shore made her feel like she was starring in the film version of her life.

        “Are you just going to stand there ogling everyone, or are you going to sit down?” Carl asked.

        Sylvia glanced at her husband. At his beer belly. His receding hairline. If she was a shadow of her former self, then Carl had morphed into a caricature of a man on the verge having a mid-life crisis. That was what this trip was about. In their twenty years of marriage they hadn’t ever ventured west of the Mississippi River. But when Carl turned forty he was adamant about going to Croatia.

        “I’m not ogling anyone,” she said. “Can I just enjoy this?”

        “Do you think you can hurry it up?” Carl asked. “It’s hot and my ass hurts.”

        Sylvia ignored him. The turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea were beckoning her to go for a swim. The moment she dove into the water she forgot everything else. The ocean welcomed her as she remembered the strokes from her high school swim team days. Sylvia was alive. She had a passport. And she would just keep swimming until the movie credits rolled.


Danielle Dreger wears many (baseball) hats. By day she is a teen librarian and by night she is a YA author. Danielle now hangs her Tampa Bay Rays hat in Seattle. Her short stories have appeared in Fiction Fix and Stratus. She is currently working on a YA novel and is repped by Danielle Chiotti of Upstart Crow Literary. Her website is www.danielledreger.com.