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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Each word has so much impact. Such secret relationships have so much reality and have so much pain in them . So many stories exist and sometimes a lot of it is unknown! Beautifully penned ❤️
Thank you so much Chinmayee! I’m so glad you liked it 🙂
Oooaff. In a relationship with someone who is ashamed of their feelings and thus keeps the person a secret. That’s painful and a crap way to treat someone. To feel like the view society holds matters more than ones own desires. The person isn’t pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, is too smart, too poor, not rich enough, doesn’t come from the right family… all things that just are what they are. The one this unwritten letter is meant for isn’t worth it. The person lacks the confidence and fortitude to be who they are in public. Maybe they fear judgment, maybe things are illegal. But if they can’t be honest, they don’t deserve to be part of a good, consensual relationship with another adult.
Of course, if the writer isn’t an adult who can give consent, then the letter is written to someone with no worth and no soul to save who has no right to exist and take up any resources of this world, as pedophiles are the bottom of the barrel and have no place or purpose in civilization, without any exception whatsoever, period. So if the narrator is being hidden for that shameful reason, I hope the one to who is addressed dies in the most horrific death that fiction can offer.
Either way, doesn’t sound like the one the letter is for is worth much at all, socially.
An impactful flash. I’ve been the dirty little secret. It’s an awful feeling. It took a long time, but I finally developed enough respect for myself that I will never again be any man’s dirty little secret.
I think the voice is strong and you said a lot without saying it. We got the hint. I don’t think the boy will.
Thanks so much, Nancy.
It tugged at my heart strings and I love it!
Your flash fiction never disappoints.
Thanks so much, Michelle!
I feel so much for her, and I can see why she’s making the choice to leave. I hope that, wherever she ends up, she can give her daughter a good life. Very emotional and well-written!
Thanks for the kind words! She is one of the main characters in The Blue Bar, so it is infinitely reassuring that you feel for her.
This is my second attempt to post a comment as the previous one seems to have gone down the “its words a mere hum within” route. Thank you for sharing this piece. It’s inspiring me to write.
Arti that’s so good to hear. Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate you persevering in your attempts to comment.
That is a tough decision for her to make, but at least she will give her child a positive father image. I’m glad she left the door ajar. Very moving piece, Damyanti!
Thanks, Debbie. Glad the emotions come through.
Oh Damyanti, I’ve missed your flash fiction.(more fool me) This was wonderful. So emotive, so mysterious, and yet so vivid and alive.
You’re making me tear up, Jemima. I’m so reassured by all the validation here.
This was rivetingly beautiful.
“Unwritten. Unspoken, its words a mere hum within, just like the tiny kicks at my belly.”
And that door left ajar.
Aw, thanks, Natasha! Also glad that the story resonated with you.
Love the flash based on your Blue Bar Damyanti. Suits the prompt exactly. Thanks for participating in WEP and spreading the word. I’m thrilled at the quality of the writing these days.
I think you’re probably always up for a thriller recommendation, like I am, so I know you’ll love THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN, by Charlie Donlea. Unputdowable.
Thank you! I tried my best to stick to the prompt, listening to various versions of the the song–glad you think it works.
Thanks also for the thriller recommendation: you’re right, I’m always up for a new one.
Well done. Good take on the prompt. A lovely and heartfelt unwritten letter, full of memories both good and bad. A statement about judgement or perhaps cultural differences. Your story’s emotional flow seems almost poetic.
Thanks so much, Lenny!
I enjoyed your flash fiction
Poetic, poignant and done to perfection. Always enjoy your entries. Thank you for sharing this at WEP.
Thanks so much for reading, Nilanjana.
That bit about the door left ajar is beautiful. Heartbreaking at the same time.
Thank you. This emotion that’s indicated, but not described in the novel.
Sad and, oh, too real, Damyanti.
I like this piece very much.
Thank you, Liz!
What a sad unwritten letter – and in so few words too. I hope her new life would be a better one. I hope she finds someone who wouldn’t be ashamed of her, who would introduce her to his friends and to his mother.
Thanks for the kind words about the story, Olga.
Hi Damyanti – I do look forward to reading your new book. Secrets and Memories – yet shame … of his parents? or of her – one hopes he will have grown up … and perhaps do the sensible thing and be in touch … lovely – thank you – cheers Hilary
That’s so kind of you! I can send you an Advance Reading Copy from the publisher. The book is already up for pre-order.
Poignant and beautiful.
How I love that she is preserving positive memories. Positive memories to pass on….
Yes, this is more of a character sketch–it portrays the unheard thoughts of one of the characters from the novel.
I love how she’ll keep the positive memories as the ones to save with her child!
Yes, that’s the push and pull of their relationship, but it is always the positives for her!
Great contribution to the WEP, Damyanti!
Thanks so much, Lee!
Every bit of that is enticing, addicting, riveting. The unsent letter. Wonderful Damyanti.
Glad you like it, Jacqui! The ARC of The Blue Bar should be in your inbox soon!