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This City

This City

The following post is a follow up on the last piece, American Dream. It is in the form of a letter. I hope you enjoy reading it! Thank you 🙂

My Dearest Mother,

I miss your calling terribly hard. You used to call me “My Dreamer” and gently stroke your hand through my hair. I remember shrugging away with a smug look like a naïve novice, who is yet to receive a visit from reality, and click my tongue and roll my eyes. “Dreamer” didn’t hold any meaning: it was more a curse to me. The fear of just being only a dreamer still sleeps within me like a deeply-rooted illness of the mind. It wakes me up frequently during the nights. Jolts me out of the layers of fabricated comfort. Even so, when you used to call me your ‘dreamer’, it sounded sweet like grandmother’s winter treats. But now that I stand amidst the blackness of my future, it no longer is. My very own dreams are now the metal claws around my neck, stealing every breath I take. I bury myself in the ashes of my dreams every night, hoping that you will come and save me. Come and save your dreamer.

I can no longer keep up with this city. I feel old. In fact, you may not even recognize me! My skin has become like paper, similar to the old factory worker you used to talk about. Dirt and dust from this city’s restless ambiance have embedded itself between my nails and my eyes have sunken in, like your cakes when you forget to add baking powder in them. I have shaved my head because the thought of having shoulder-length hair no longer excites me. The cracks in my skin mock me, resembling the different paths I perhaps could’ve taken in life.

I can no longer keep up with this city. Its energy. Its jarring rhythm. Its ugly betrayal. My Father would be happy to know that I no longer dream. And that I want to come back home.

Sometimes, I go for walks by myself around this city during the nights. It’s a different sort of beauty. But it makes me laugh because it’s as though the sins of this city seep through amidst the neon lights and you see your dreams scattered here and there: scrunched up in between dollars; spray-painted across the walls; abandoned in packs of cigarettes on the sidewalks. You hear the police raids (sometimes with the rain) and the prostitutes, and the deaths of many young hopes and I eventually return to my small apartment, which I still have not called home. It’s funny.

I was cleaning my apartment a few days ago and found a photograph of myself from my first time in this city. I have lost a lot of weight and the sweater that I was wearing, which you had made for me, no longer fits.

I miss your calling, Mother.

Yours forever,

Your Dreamer

Inspired Writing

Inspired Writing

This writing, which is in the form of a letter, is inspired by the 1988 film ‘Dangerous Liaisons‘, starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer in the lead roles, and based upon a French novel of the same name by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. I saw this movie in March of 2021 and shared a very unique experience, intrigueded by the story’s mischievous and deceitful actions. Within this film, the most common form of communication between the characters is through letter writing, and I think this is the aspect of the film that inspired and fascinated me the most. It was so entertaining watching the characters convey their emotions and cunning plans to each other through letters, and eventually inspiring me to devise a letter on my own. The letter discusses an affair, which is perhaps the main focus of the film. However, the names that I have utilized are not taken from the film, nor are the events/the affair. I was purely inspired by the idea of letter writing and the concept of affairs.

I hope that you will enjoy the reading process!

Dear Mr. Whitlock,

I hope that my letter finds you in the greatest of conditions- though I am afraid that by the time you will have reached the termination of my letter, your mood- regardless of its current state- will have deteriorated. I do sincerely apologize for creating a rather inauspicious tone right from the inception of my message to you; however, I would much rather alarm you know than risk a fatal fall of yours at my revealing of the word. I must also explain my certainty at the utilization of the modal verb “will” for I know that you will be devastated by the time you will have embarked upon the last punctuation. Now, kindly allow me to commence.

Last night, I was returning home from the market after purchasing some fresh oranges- that had arrived from an exotic Spanish region- for my Mother’s fruit cake, which she was going to be preparing for our neighbour’s sixth marital anniversary. I am not necessarily of the ‘wanderer’ nature, Sir; however, the weather during that particular hour was so tremendously blissful, I could not but engage in a slight detour of the town as though the breeze had brushed past my neck, whispering in my ear to join her in her epic journey.

My detour had lasted a short period of time, but each moment I cherished with great tenderness like one does a fleeting summer’s dream. I explored the famous campus (that my cousin had mentioned to me quite some time ago now) and saw a few eager students exiting and entering the antique library with a bundle of books. A while later, I escorted myself to the park, where I sat near the lake and even exploited the liberty to indulge in one of the Spanish oranges bought for my Mother as I allowed myself to be entranced by the way the moonlight danced on the surface of the lake. I was always afraid of being left in my own solitude and company, but within that moment, my childish feat had left me as I stumbled upon the epiphany that as long as you are surrounded by unadulterated beauty, you will be fine.

I cannot remember the last time I had basked in such a pure, beautiful silence and I was just about to respectfully take my leave, when quite abruptly my ears picked up on a rather unusual sonic activity; and I describe it to be ‘rather unusual’ for the sound was not complimentary to its natural surroundings. At that current moment in time, I interpreted it to be some sort of feral creature rustling through the pile of leaves; however, now I understand how far from the truth I stood like a lost soul is from its home. I did contemplate going forward with this private investigation of mine and my original decision was to return to my Mother, awaiting my arrival, but Mr. Whitlock, I am sure that you are aware of the intensity of curiosity of a young mind.

The last time I was this terrifyingly shocked at the occurrence of a certain event was when it was announced that our other neighbour (who lives to the left of us, not the right, for whom the fruit cake was going to be baked) had won the ‘Spring Baking Contest’, despite the fact that she had deceived the system by secretly hiring a professional baker to decorate the exterior of her cake. Therefore, you can imagine how unfathomably astonishing the actual identity of the sound must have needed to be for it to transcend the event that I have just detailed to you. And, Mr. Whitlock, it shatters my heart to say that it was and how I was even more stupefied to discover (dare I say) your respectable wife, Mrs. Whitlock, wrapped in passion with her private stableman underneath the foliage of the tree next to the lake. The exact origin of the noise I heard I speculate to be the coarse voice of the stableman whispering in your wife’s ear. The man had his hairless head on your wife’s lap as she intertwined her hands with his as if he was the only man she had ever loved. They did indeed look like forbidden lovers, who were completely lost in each other and no form of navigation could make them return to reality. Now, I am aware that my words maybe harshly questioned for you are a man who has placed great faith in your wife and moreover, I have uttered a bold accusation. But Mr. Whitlock, the way the moonlight shone on the lovers left me certain of their identity; though, I am not glad that that was the case.

Mr. Whitlock, I am not a believer of cheap, dispensable town-gossip, nor do I actively partake in it. However, considering the recent lamentable discovery, I cannot help but ponder back to when you recently had married your wife and how many women in our town would constantly say:

“This wife of his is bound to taint the family name. She is young and we all know that youth brings with it a free spirit that pays no heed to rules!”

I will leave it at that for you, Mr. Whitlock.

I do perfectly comprehend that I have divulged a great amount to you and what you do with this information is up to your liberty; I aspire to become a good citizen and that is sole reason behind my letter. I hope now that you have reached the end, you have not collapsed or have been left void of consciousness for I would detest to be the cause of your ill health. I pray of only good things for you and your revered family.

Yours sincerely,

A Well-Wisher