This year I’ve been pushing myself to write more. Creative writing was my first love when I was a child, I went through endless notebooks writing my own stories and ‘novels’ (usually about dragons). As the years have gone on and I’ve moved through university and academia my fingers have become more and more occupied with non-fiction and academic writing. This isn’t a bad thing but I do miss regularly writing fiction, even if it’s mediocre fiction. In 2018 I’m trying to focus on doing things I love and after finding that I was spending more time writing in 2017 than I had been recently I wanted to set aside time to pursue that pleasure on a regular basis this year. I am, however, somewhat rusty so I’ve been experimenting with lots of different forms and having a bit of fun with it. A few of you mentioned you’d be interested in reading some of the little things I’d come out with so here is a piece of ‘flash-fiction’ I wrote earlier this year that I’ve imaginatively titled ‘Hungry Eyes’. Enjoy! (Or don’t, whatever.)
He had a hungry look in his eyes.
Sitting next to my aunt, a decorative seat warmer allowed to observe but not to contribute, I wondered if they could see in my eyes how much I craved to stretch out my hand and pick out another pink frosted fancy from the plate. Saliva was practically dribbling from the corners of my mouth.
They always do, replied my grandmother.
I’d heard them use this phrase before but it never quite made sense to me.
The context in which it was employed never seemed to refer to food.
But to them, it was a secret code that required no further elucidation. They simply nodded and locked eyes, knowingly.
This time they referred to the boy behind the counter in the bakery.
It seemed perfectly understandable to me, surrounded by all those cakes and buns.
But neither smiled when they spoke and there was no lightness in their tone.
Instead, a darkness crossed their faces.
Honestly Elizabeth, sit up straight; my aunt elbowed me indiscreetly much to my embarrassment.
I straightened my spine and moved my eyes upwards from the cakes on the table to the women before me.
Hungry for what? I asked.
Both women looked at me astonished; they did not expect me to speak, I’m not sure they thought I could hear let alone comprehend.
I could tell from the shocked expressions on their faces that my question was unladylike.
You’re too young to understand, my grandmother stated, conversation closed.
If it were up to them we’d all starve, this disdain for hunger wherever it comes from.
If I could sneak away from my aunt’s stifling stare I might just visit the baker’s boy by myself and maybe we could eat together.
I wonder what they’d say to that?