This edition of WEP Writing Challenge is based on the song “Please read the letter.”
Like I did the last time, I’ve used characters from my upcoming literary thriller, The Blue Bar. These stories show the human, emotional aspect of the story, not its pace or plot. When you read the book, you’ll recognize the characters, and the voices will (hopefully) blend into the tapestry of the novel.
——–So here’s my WEP entry, a flash piece I’ll feature only here on this site.—-
WORD COUNT: 429, FCA
I would have asked you to read the letter I wrote you, but I didn’t.
Write you a letter, that is.
What would I have written? A few words in Hindi or English or both, with smudges and spelling mistakes. That’s not how I wanted you to remember me. If you remember me at all.
Would you come looking? Ask the other girls, interrogate the owner of our Mumbai bar—where you spent evenings not watching me—what would you say? Where is that girl I used to meet? Who I bought trinkets, perfume, who I offered rides on my bike and a side of my bed? Who I never introduced to my friends.
Secrets and memories. Always those. Memories of the beach. Of the time you bought me bangles that glowed in the dark. When you kissed me in the tattered back-seat of a black-and-yellow taxi that smelled of left-over fritters and incense? That time I fried those starchy noodles I hated and you loved, and you licked mint sauce and ketchup off the plate, and then my lips.
Not those memories? Secrets then. I was your secret. Had your mother been alive, would you have brought me home, introduced me to her? The answer is as simple as it is painful. No. Your world has no place for bargirls.
If we’re talking secrets, I have one. One I ran away with. It made it worthwhile to run. I never had a reason before.
I also had no one to run to, especially not you. I can say this now, what I would never have admitted before: if I ran to you, and you tossed me aside, I couldn’t bear it.
Now, though, I have a reason. I am told it’s not a boy like you. A girl like me, then.
You will not know her, as you go about your day to day life, meet other women, maybe even marry and father children.
But she will know you—a photograph, the real you that will not age. Your kindness. The way you cooked noodles with me in your bare kitchen, how you kneaded away the pain from my feet and calves destroyed by hours and hours of dancing at the bar.
So no, no letter for you, unless you think this is one. Unwritten. Unspoken, its words a mere hum within, just like the tiny kicks at my belly. Read the letter, then. Read it the way you find it, nailed to the door I’ve left far behind, but left ajar, just in case you ever come looking.
Do you read or write flash fiction? Have you ever participated in the WEP? What do you think of this voice? Would you like to read their story?
My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out this October with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day.
Today is the last day for this fab giveaway of 6 books to release this fall! Hurry up and enter before it is archived!
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