Blueberry Muffins & Red Wine [a letter]

A couple of weeks ago, I completed the QCS writing task as a component of my high school assessment. I completed my piece unexpectedly early –perhaps because I skipped the “drafting” process and dove straight into the final– and rewrote it on drafting paper to keep after the exam. I’m rather glad I frantically scrawled this piece down, because I’m rather fond of it. 🙂 It marks one of my first attempts at an emotional letter genre.

2 hours. Overarching stimulus: What Feeds Us. 

The Specific stimulus (which I hadn’t recognised as a bible verse until I Googled it):

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

Matthew (25:35)

***

Dear Lucy,

Our eyes first met through prison cells gaps. Your presence stirred great delight within other prisoners —or to be more politically correct, my “family”— because their eyes locked on your miniature woven basket, overwhelming with edible goods.

Unfortunately, I was waist-deep in insecurity. I realised how detached I’d become from the outside world. You, with your ginger pigtails and scattered freckles, didn’t belong here with us monsters —we, who repressed unsatisfiable hunger and unquenchable thirst.

Monsters like me.

My heart had sunk. I’d subconsciously taken steps backwards, while others heaved forwards. Food and water… they can never smooth my jagged pieces. My heart’s desires are ungodly, perilous…

…And they can never be salvaged.

But you found me —even when I became wallpaper— and handed me a blueberry muffin, with a toothy smile. While everyone felt the warmth, embraced the scent, and savoured the taste, my eyes fixed on a single blueberry.

Blue, the colour of his eyes, and the ceiling I tried to distort, chugging beer after beer in hysterical delirium. Blue, the colour of my floral, forget-me-not dress in second grade, before…

Before that security —my blissful innocence— was stolen from me on a silent winter’s night.

The blueberries stuck to my dry throat. But your unspoken encouragement rung loudly and, without realising, I’d swallowed. I’d devoured the restless, unattainable need for a justice I’d never receive; a life I’ve never relive.

Then, you placed a goblet of red wine into my hands and I almost collapsed. The red —velvet, deep, passionate— stained my hands and the knife. Red, I later learned, best covers blue, as I could no longer see the eyes that betrayed me. Red, I later learned, is also the colour of irreversible sin; the unquenchable thirst for revenge. It is anger I cannot repress.

But the red wine purified me. The dark, velvet red no longer became my muffled screams of despair. They became your hair, swaying in the gentle breeze.

I have a confession to make: I am not supposed to be… this. I wasn’t a monster in first grade, where my only hunger were for the notes of a piano. My hands flew freely without guidance, where I held an affinity for the sharp keys —the black ones— for they were the colour of my hair. They became my identity. They watched in awe as I recited Pachelbel’s Cannon in D major, exclaiming I had talent; that my hunger for sound would take me far. And with reddened cheeks, I believed every word.

I never became a virtuoso. I never touched my piano again after second grade. By the time I turned eighteen, the monster I’d repressed became my identity. I became everything my parents hated; I became everything I hated.

And yet.

I never became what you hated. You listened with an unfathomable expression, and just before I collapsed, unable to bear the looming darkness, you said quietly,

“That’s not unusual? Feeding off those emotions —that injustice—and reacting. Not because we’re monsters, but because we’re human.

I was a shivering caterpillar encapsulated in your warm butterfly wings. And though I didn’t stayed long, I knew I could return; that I was always welcome.

Next time, when you visit, I will return.

Amanda

PS: You gave me more than food and drink. You gave me a will to watch the sunset every morning. You are the mother I never had, feeding me kindness and acceptance I yearned for. And through you, I realised my hunger and thirst was satisfiable… but in an unconventional way.

***

THE WINE. THE BLUEBERRIES. THE MUFFINS. THE DRESS. THE ABUSE. THE LETTER. THE LOVE. THE HUNGER. THE THIRST. THE JAIL. THE MURDER. THE CRIME. THE SIN. THE MONSTER. THE HUMAN. — Ray Bradbury’s noun list.

***

OTHER NOTABLY NICE NOUN LISTS (my noble attempt at alliteration):

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