Monthly Archives: August 2020

Catastrophe (noun)

Photo by Christina Victoria Craft via Unsplash


1: a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin

2: utter failure: fiasco

3a: a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth

b: a violent usually destructive natural event (such as a supernova)

4: the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 30 July 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Valentina sat for a moment, catching her breath. The band continued to play and her guests still shuffled past her table, laughing at their own clumsy attempts to dance. All she could summon was a wan smile and barely audible sigh. She clutched the hand of her fiancé… her husband… and held it in her lap of tulle, lace and satin. But he was turned away from her, happily chatting with his best man and just didn’t seem to register what an unholy, unbelievably, unreasonably catastrophic day it had been so far. Top of Form

Yes, her flower girl was angelic, and the church choir made her guests weep. But her father had also stepped on her dress and left a dirty great footprint in the pristine satin and made her stumble. He had guffawed loudly to which her guests had tittered politely. But their entrance was a slapstick comedy, not the elegant scene she had imagined a thousand times since she was a girl.

During the ceremony, the priest kept calling her Valenteen, her flower girl wandered away bored, and the best man dropped the ring as he passed it to her fiancé… husband.

By 9am the temperature gauge had already hit 40 degrees, and Valentina had staggered under the weight of her dress. By the time they walked down the aisle and out of the church, it had turned into a rainy, tropical afternoon and a brisk wind had struck up like a terrible orchestra. The rose flower petals, whether they wished to be thrown or not, were whisked out of their baskets by that wind and stuck to everything, leaving their own gentle mark on her gown. She swallowed several petals and almost choked.

At the reception hall the air conditioning wasn’t working. She wiped swathes of the mascara off her cheeks in the bathroom, dabbed at the tears and redid her lipstick. She pulled strands of loose hair together and tucked them behind her ears, pulled the last of the petals out from her cleavage, and put on a brave face.

At the table, her fiancé… husband… turned from his best man to Valentina and squeezed her hand then gently kissed it. ‘Happy?’

She wiped beads of sweat from her temples and raised her eyebrows in response.

He laughed indulgently and grinned at her. ‘Well, I don’t think anything else can go wrong now, right?’

But out of the corner of her eye, Valentina registered that her wedding cake was on the move. She frowned and then gasped as she watched the top tier of the five-level cake lean, lean, lean … and suddenly topple forward, splat, on the ground in front of them. The second two levels quickly followed.

There was a shocked hush, and then a terrible howling sound. It was Valentina. She’d had enough.