January 22, 2009

Cruelty and Cake…slightly altered drafts


Don't wake up so late. Don't stay out all night drinking with your friends. It's alright for them but you are more fragile. Don't brush your hair back from your forehead. Your forehead is too big. If you wear your make-up this way your nose will look smaller. If you do these exercises your jawline will become more defined. That's too much make-up. That skirt is too short.

Don't speak to that boy. Come listen to this boy play music; come eat dinner with this man from Oxford University. If you are not careful you will make all the mistakes that I did. Don't crack the eggs like that. I'll do it. I can't believe you're eighteen years old and you don't know how to break an egg. Don't stay at that boy's house. Don't get married to him. He will never be able to provide for you.

If you study this subject you must be aware that you will have to become a lawyer or a teacher afterwards. Don't listen to actors, they have given you wild ideas. Don't you want any money when you are older? Don't you want to live? I am only trying to stop you making the mistakes your father made. You look like your father.

Your sister is looking beautiful. Yesterday she baked me a wonderful cake. Her young man is doing very well. I'm glad you asked.

Now pick the eggshells out of the mix and I'll show you how to stir.

Cruelty story (untitled)

There was something strange about the way they walked, something confusing and ragged. Three of them were crying. All girls, about my age perhaps, some a few years younger. We rolled down the window but they told us to drive on.

We were heading towards the park and the little railway station whose roof was covered with leaves. The evening light made it more beautiful than it actually was.

I heard later that one of the girls who was mixed-race had become whitewashed due to the company she kept. A few hours before sunset her black friends had marched her two white friends down the leafy railway line to prevent this from happening again.

The sun behind me melted silently through the Georgian houses, red light running everywhere. I glanced back. The silhouette of one girl took hold of the head of another, moving oddly, harshly like a shadow puppet, while a third girl drove a knee into her face.

The impact which I felt in my own head was tiny and deafening. The distant blow seemed to make a quiet popping sound.

We drove back towards the shadow-puppets, but many of them saw us coming and ran away.

- 2 comments by 0 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Dan Barrow

    Two things. The last 2 sentences of ‘Cake’ are a brilliant ending. There’s a very interesting sense of an entire history lurking behind the words. Also, I may have not been paying much attention (soz!) when reading the cruelty story, but that line “a third girl drove a knee into her face” was extremely well-situated. It felt like a bolt out of the blue that was also a mere afterthought (if we want to mix our similes.)

    25 Jan 2009, 18:58

  2. Jo Farnall

    it was a good cake

    04 Mar 2009, 17:37

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