Love Letters #12

Dear Cecil,

To be civil is to be wise.




Dear Cecil,

To understand why one is angry, is to stop and listen to one speak, rather than speaking over one.




Dear Cecil,

I complain about your foot only because it moves so much when I am trying to concentrate. You know the boss likes to point fingers. It always seems to be us, doesn’t it?



Dear Cecil,

As always, be quiet.



Dear Cecil,

I had afternoon tea with him. What’s it to you anyway.



Dear Cecil,

Well, Andrew is kind to me. Unlike you.



Dear Cecil,

Now, I have written two pages on experimental feminism. If this does not enter the paper, I shall blame it on you.



Dear Cecil,

Nice cactus on your desk. 



Dear Cecil,

I think boss has clocked on about our notes. Destroy destroy destroy.


P.S. No, I don’t like writing you notes. It’s just handy.

P.P.S. No, I do not.

P.P.P.S. That is hardly appropriate. I shan’t send you any more, then. Good day.



Leave me alone.




Mouse in my desk. Care to have a look?




Thank you for getting rid of my mouse. Boss called me out for screaming. Says I am a woman, and what else did he expect. I explained I was startled. He reckons I wasted valuable work time by what he calls my ‘female disability’.




Of course I am upset. Will I show it? Certainly not. Wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.




Thank you. That is very kind of you.




Have you seen Thomas? He is supposed to be editing my piece.




Fired? Whatever for?




I am shocked, frankly. Shocked. And horrified. I am going to give that man a piece of my mind.




Yes I am. Don’t you dare say anything, and put your own job at risk. I won’t have it. 




Wish me luck.





Dear Cecil,

Well, I suppose you are aware by now. I was told to leave. I didn’t go back to my desk to collect my things because it was a matter of pride, really. I walked out of those doors with my nose in the air like any self respecting lady who refuses to be trampled upon by the patriarchy. You might snigger at my word choice there but it is very true and something everybody who is sane and sensible should stand up for. Thomas should not have spoken up for me, and I feel inherently guilty that he lost his place here because of me. I wish to thank you for your input, Cecil, but please keep your head down. I don’t want you to lose your financial stability over this, you are already on probation. They are hiring at that newly opened shop and apparently they are looking for ladies, so I shall go and see how my chances fare there. Hopefully that will tide me over until I can find something better. Mama and Papa await me in the countryside. They say it is not right for a lady of my age to be living and working in the city. Settle down and marry, they say. They don’t understand my passion for what I do.

Thank you, Cecil. For everything.



Dear Cecil,

I understand you left me a note. This is me returning it. I went to call on Thomas. He appears to be avoiding me. I am absolutely racked with guilt.



Dear Cecil,

Apparently he wasn’t avoiding me. He was at the theatre with his wife! He is working now with another editor, who had heard of his ordeal, and his newspaper is very progressive. He has asked tp speak with me, funnily enough. Well, they are both happy enough. They both reckon I am a stubborn thing but commend me on it given the situation. I should very well think so. Thank you for the flowers, sorry to have missed you again. I was at dinner with Thomas and his wife, a most charming woman. They have the sweetest, chubby little child you ever set your eyes on. 



Dear Cecil, 

I would very much like to go for a walk with you this evening.








I’m flying to Morocco tomorrow and of course I am scared.

I am scared of the plane.

I am scared of what will greet me there.

I am scared to leave my husband.

I am scared for my mother.

I am scared for my father.

I am just an anxious scaredy cat. But you know what, y’all? I am a grown ass woman and so will have to just suck it up and enjoy myself.

I shall meet my paternal grandmother, who lives and flourishes there. I shall explore and wander around a country that I have only been to but once before, but which is rich with part of my heritage. I shall try to learn the dialect, and try to cook the dishes. I shall go to some Moroccan baths, of course. My father tells me the baths make dirt crawl out of your pores like insects, and you feel so light afterwards.

After hearing that, my body now feels gross and heavy with clogged pores full of insect-dirt! It needs a Moroccan bath!

It will be mighty hot so I have packed only the coolest of garments. I am looking forward to getting some pure Argan oil, and exploring markets and gardens.

My father tells me how he used to walk to the seaside, and buy fruit to sell so he could afford to buy books. He was pretty poor back then.

Anyway. I am excited. Let’s not ruin it by worrying about rubbish that may never happen. And if it does happen, well, we’ll cross those bridges when they come, won’t we.

(That’s what my mum always says).

I have also scheduled some posts to go up while I am away, because the place where I am going is remote and there won’t be any internet for some time.

Burned Husband

Hey yooo my husband’s back and he is all red like a branding iron. Sunburned to the max. Can’t move his skin without wincing. I need to buy him some aloe vera.

Great timing, husband. Now how am I going to smother you with hugs, hey?

I didn’t miss him. I didn’t miss him like I thought I would. Maybe its the heat, I don’t know. When he returned it was like he had just gone to work like usual.

Am I… am I getting USED to his absence? Why didn’t I miss him?

Heck, I know I did.But not as much as I could have. And when he came back, I didn’t. Maybe because he was all red and sore. I don’t know.


Maybe because we are both exhausted?

He bought me lipstick. He said, ‘I know you like ‘nude’ lipstick, right? Do you like it?’

It’s a Mac matte lipstick. Bless his heart, you know what he did? He remembered I like Mac, he remembered I wear a lot of nude colours, so he looked for the most expensive Mac nude colour and got that. Most expensive. Not to show off, not to make out like he’s some kind of kingly benefactor, but to show me that he cares.

You see this guy. How could I say I didn’t miss him. I missed the heck out of him. I am so goddamn happy he’s back. If he goes again I shall cry. He is going again. So am I. In three days. For a whole month.

I won’t cry, of course. I will just be mad and sad and insecure and worry about all the beautiful women he might be working with and all the hours he won’t miss me in and how he might get used to being away from me and then we will be used to being away from each other and that will be awful.

I don’t want to be used to being away from him, y’know? Does it last forever or just for a short while. We need to get our own place already.



I went to my mother yesterday. She was making dinner while the rest of the family lazed about doing nothing.

‘I feel so stressed,’ I told her, ‘I don’t know why. All my exams are over.’

She carried on stirring the cheese sauce for macaroni cheese (i put chilli flakes in mine. I have an obsession with chilli flakes lately. My brother says I will get stomach ulcers. BUT THEY’RE SO GOOD?!!?!), but I knew she was listening.

‘I feel like everybody expects something from me and I am trying my best to meet everybody’s expectations but it is never enough, and I go to bed feeling guilty that I haven’t done enough, or been enough, and it’s giving me anxiety!”

My mother turned to me, and she was smiling slightly but her eyes were dead serious.

‘Well Lenora, that’s what it feels like to be a woman.’

Her voice was encouraging, supportive, sympathetic, sad.

For the first time in my adult life, I saw my mother as a woman, not just my mother, always getting on with things, always dependable, always listening to what I have to say. That’s way too much expectation for a singular human. But they do it. They all shoulder it up and carry it through life, and the bundle just gets larger and larger.

And that, I think, is simply amazing. The amount of strength one woman can garner. Woman are strong, folks. They are built to carry the weight of the generations on their shoulders.




They replaced the warm orange street lamps on my mum’s street with a cold harsh light instead.

Like a flood light.

So bright and painful on the eyes, unlike that gentle warm orange glow we had before. Just surreal enough to transform the ugly dirtiness of it into something magical, illuminating warmly through the leaves of the solitary tree in the middle.

Now, it’s bright and industrial, like iron and concrete.

Lighting really does make all the difference.

In the night time, when I am back in my old bed, I struggle to sleep because my room is so bright and white. Even when the curtains are drawn.

I stick my head out of the skylight and try to make it magical again. The only way I can do this is if I look out into the distance where I can see the twinkling glow of the city under a purple night sky, just above the bright lights over the street.

The cold white light is strong enough to penetrate my picture, but one can always dream.


Why do they always have to industrialise things.

I blame that Cameron. (>.>)



1040 Miles Away

1040 miles away.

Have we ever been that far apart?

Oh yes. Twice, I think. Once for two weeks. Once for a day.

It’s been two days.

Next week, I will be the one to get on a plane. For three weeks. THAT will be the longest. I will enjoy myself, I know, but I will also be aching to get back to you.

I seem to be spending all my time waiting. That isn’t how one should live life.

Embrace the moment, they say. I don’t want to live my moments without you, though. I feel as though a part of me is missing and if I am left to my own devices too long, it haunts me and creates a lump in my throat.

So I am keeping very busy. Not that I have a choice, of course. In the small moments before my eyes close at night, I feel alone and empty. No warmth to snuggle up to. Nobody to put my arm around in the pitch blackness because I am afraid of the dark.

I sleep on his pillow, because it smells of him, of course. I close my eyes and bury my face in it, pretending it is his T-shirt. He isn’t so squishy though.

When you come back, I am going to cover your face in kisses. Please come home safely.

Why do you get up in the morning?

Or don’t you like getting up in the morning at all?

I get up in the morning every day at 5:40am because my husband has to get up that early for his commute to work. I sluggishly make breakfast on the go and lunches for both me and him for the day, while he rushes about grabbing last minute things and having a shower. When he leaves I clean up our mess and fold clothes away and put a wash on and pack my bags for the day before picking my brothers up and dropping them off to school.

After that I go to the gym for two hours, have a shower, and then lesson prep for my afternoon lessons. Once my lessons are over at 2:30 I pick my brothers up from school, drop them home, and then have one hour free in which to prepare for my afternoon lessons, which last from 4pm through till 7pm.

By 7pm, my husband is returning home from work, so I go back home and say hello. Sometimes he lets me kiss him and other times he is distracted and exhausted, his hazel eyes two alien orbs sunken into his pale face, the dark circles under his eyes stark against his colourless cheeks.

But wait, I am not done yet, because although I want to just sit next to my husband and watch his shows with him, switching off as he does, I cannot. I must prepare for the next day, and study, and write, because those books won’t get written by themselves, and my degree won’t obtain itself either.

When I finally get into bed, at around 12am, my husband is as still as a log, in the deep sleep only one who is exhausted can experience. I, too, will experience it.. just… as .. soon.. as my head .. hits… that … pillow.

I get up in the morning because I have a day to conquer, a living to make, and a career to create. I get up in the morning because it is the only time I will get to see my husband, albeit for a few minutes, and give him a hug in private. I get up in the morning because I am obligated to by duty, and no, I am not always happy about it. In fact I can be despicably moody about it and drive around town with a perpetual frown on my face drawn on by constant exhaustion.

I like getting up so early in the morning, though. You see? I like it. I might not always show that I like it, I might hit that snooze button and then be half an hour late for everything all day, but I like that I can have an entire day, nineteen hours, in which to do all I have to do and complete my goals.

I don’t always complete all my goals, of course, and some days I am so sluggish I can barely think, but the weekend always beckons me, with bright sunshine and promise.

It doesn’t always fulfil that promise, though, but it does let me have a lie in with my husband in the mornings. It’s sad, but I look forward to that the most all week. Just a few extra hours, to talk about what’s happened all week, or have a laugh about something, or plan for the days when we can be together properly, without family in the way, without other obligations, without being in a hurry or being too exhausted to speak.

I look forward to those days, and I guess, that is really why I like getting up in the morning.

Why do you get up in the morning?


Oleg Riabchuck


Love Letters #11

He was a golden boy. His skin was gold; glowing in the shade of the shop. His hair was gold, glinting like purely spun element. His eyes were gold; two melting pools in his tan face, drawing her in, biding their time, slowly leading her over the edge so she could fall right into them and it would be warm and so sweet.

She could stare and stare and stare. But she didn’t, of course. She just nodded at him, distracting herself with the shopping which he scanned through for her.

Eggs. Milk. Bread. Generic. Generic. Generic. Oh, Thyme. Fresh parsley. Mmm, that smelled great. A stick of rock candy for Peter. She eyed it longingly. She wouldn’t dare to get some for herself.

‘Alright?’ he was looking at her. Maybe he’d said it twice. She wasn’t sure.

Flustered, she said, ‘Alright.’

He packed her groceries away for her, and she handed him her coins. His hands were grubby, fingernails mere stubs on his long fingers, like he did a lot of work. She could see the hairs on his muscular forearms, gleaming goldenly in the afternoon sunlight filtering in through the shop front.

His face shone with invisible perspiration, and she glanced outside at the heat radiating off the pavement, tugging at her tight collar.

‘Say,’ he said suddenly, as she carried her bags towards the door, ‘What’s your name?’

She wasn’t sure he was actually talking to her. So she smiled at him, an excuse to look at his golden, golden face. His lips were full and red, his nose perfectly straight, yet slightly wide and snubbed, in the sweetest way possible, and he was waiting for her to reply.

‘Poppy,’ she said, her voice small.

‘Poppy. You have fantastic hair, did anyone ever tell you that? It’s like the fire of the setting sun.’

Warmth rushed through her body, raking down her back and flooding her face with embarrassment. She touched her red curls self conciously.

‘Thank you.’ She said shyly, and when she walked out of the shop, the image of his grin,  with the deepest dimples she had ever seen, was burning behind her eyelids every time she closed her eyes.

The world was so peaceful, so still. The birds seemed to have forgotten to chirp, or maybe they were too tired to. They flitted languidly from tree to tree, as she made her way through the town, her hair on fire.

‘Poppy. You’re late. Does it take seventeen hours to get some groceries?’

‘Poppy, put everything away and hurry, the baby’s crying.’

‘Poppy, you haven’t dusted behind the bear.’

‘Poppy. POPPY. Honestly, that darn girl, are you deaf or something? I’ve been calling you for the last five minutes!’

Poppy cleaned and mopped and sang the baby to sleep before shining the pots and pans until it was so late that her arms felt like they were falling off and the world outside was so silent she almost heard the stars twinkle.

She stared at them, her eyes closing and opening softly, and they shone back at her. They were hopeful stars, against the dark sky. They were her stars, her glorious night time partners.

When she finally went to bed and closed her eyes, the golden boy with his dimples smiled her to sleep.

To the Golden Boy,

I hope I see you again.

The Girl with the Fiery Hair




Peanut Butter Burger

Well, my exam went well. As well as it could, under the circumstances. What circumstances?

Oh, you know, the ones where I didn’t study Wordsworth.

Out of all the poets, his were the ones I had to dissect in my exam.

Out of all the authors/poets I have studied on this course, and begrudged slightly, he was the only one who could not redeem himself after extensive study. Well, Wordsworth, I am glad our journey  together is over. I would wish you well, but you’re dead. So rest in peace, and no, I can’t forgive you for being the cause of my literary misery.

I also drove that girl home. You know, the one I met the other day. We didn’t talk about her relatives this time. We talked about our course, our exam, and our summer plans. It was actually really enjoyable. I even got her to laugh, by lapsing into my regular self by accident and doing a silly impression. Then we sat in the car outside her house chatting for fifteen minutes. The socially awkward human inside me kept willing her to get out and go home, so I sort of zoned out a little. ANYWAY. Anyway.

Went with the husband to see X-Men, Apocalypse. Even though I haven’t seen any X-Mens before. He really wanted to go. Even though he was dead tired.

‘Why,’ he said, ‘don’t we celebrate your first day of freedom, eh?’

‘Why,’ he said, ‘are you so uptight and old?’

‘Because,’ I replied, ‘I am worried about you getting up early after this long night and having to drive two hours to work.’

We did it anyway. Then we went and had special burgers. Mine had crunchy peanut butter on a home-made beef patty with fried bananas on top. It was very tasty. The vegetarian in me died, of course. She did not last more than a week.

That was delicious. 10/10. Now I am worried my husband has to drive really early to work tomorrow after this long ass day.


Kyle Fewell



There Ain’t No Klu Klux, on a 133rd.

My last exam of the year today.

Did I study enough? Does anyone ever?

Eh. Who am I kidding. I didn’t study enough. I know what good studying is. At this point, there is nothing more I can study.

I will write down this poem by Langston Hughes that I memorised, though. For practise, and because it is absolutely heartrending, and it is also one of my favourite poems.

I might make some mistakes.

‘Not a Movie’ – Langston Hughes

Well, they rocked him with road apples

because he tried to vote

and whipped his head with clubs

and he crawled on his knees to his house

and he caught the midnight train

and he crossed that Dixie line

Now he’s livin’

on a 133rd.


He didn’t stop in Washington

and he didn’t stop in Baltimore

neither in Newark on the way.

Six knots was on his head,

But thank God, he wasn’t dead!

And there ain’t no Klu Klux,

on a 133rd. 

I probably made some mistakes. But oh how sad this all is. Hopeful, of course, but so sad that it had to happen.

‘and there ain’t no Klu Klux on a 133rd’.

I could cry.

Out of nerves, out of sadness, who knows.