That is what I would call her. She flounders, sometimes, in the shallows of life. Her heart may seem weak, but I secretly know she is just sensitive. She thinks too deeply about things.

He says she is drowning in ‘her vortex’.

Why, she asks, do they write about sad things, and try to make jokes out of them?

I think about what she means. She means those dark comedy sitcoms. You know, where the family are poor and there are lots of rude sex jokes, and dirty people saying filthy things, and jokes about mental instability and emotional unavailability.

Those are dark things. She says, Things you should keep hidden away. Things you mustn’t make light of.


Because the world needs to see happiness and hope. Not misery accompanied by obnoxious music. If I am unhappy, why would I want to laugh at other people’s unhappiness?

It’s just a TV show.

People drink too much alcohol and are seen as ‘party types’, adventurous and daring. People have ‘daddy issues’ and are blunt and rude about other people. People joking about the pills they pop to hide their deepest pains. People unconscious because of intoxication. When did this become a norm in society? What happened to living and laughing and talking genuinely about real things?

It’s just.. a TV show, Poppy.

She dances quietly in the rain, sometimes. Her movements, although rhythm-less, have a certain cadence. The way her arms move around her head, the way her bare feet touch the wet grass, gently kissing the sodden blades before moving on to another spot. The way her throat supports her face, craned towards the pregnant, grey heavens.

I think, sometimes, that you have to let life into your skin.

I don’t know what that means, Poppy.

When she works, she is vigilant. She is furious. When she sleeps, she is restless. Her eyes are always wandering.

Once she saw an old lady outside with no stockings. She rushed indoors and brought her a cape. The old woman, pushing her trolley before her, shook her away irritably.

What do you think I am, senile?!

Poppy stared as she hobbled away down the road. I couldn’t read the expression on her face.

She was vibrant, alive. But there was always a heavy sadness clinging to her. In her eyes, sometimes, when she thought I wasn’t looking.

I feel lonely, Sebastian.

I’m here, Poppy.

I .. know.

Your life, always, over mine, Poppy.



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