My heart



Semi-sweet and a little nutty. Lover of zesty lime-green and dangerous shades of red. Adores cats and music, big on all things bright and beautiful. Still a work in progress.

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Hello you who read this line! Have you had a smile today?

Embroidered Stilettos

April 15, 2016

Autumn would dye the whole Forbidden City an auspicious red. Flaming crimson chrysanthemums flourished outside my windowsill at one of the many shadow palaces.
Autumn was my favorite season of the year. In the morning, the skies would be crystal-clear in a shade of light sapphire decorated with tendrils of white clouds, much like my porcelain tea-set. I would open my eyes to a splash of sunshine bouncing off the glossy linoleum of my Sandalwood dressing table. I would lay silently in the comfort of my bed, enjoying the bright glow in my room while eavesdropping the sparrows gossiping at the windowsill.
 “Good morning Rong-er, rise and shine,” Soon, a swift shuffle would signal Auntie’s arrival. She would brighten up my room further with her honey-coated voice. Auntie has been taking care of me since I was born. Mother visited me occasionally since she was the Empress and lived in the faraway Jiao Fang Palace.

My auntie was a special woman. Unlike mother, auntie walked in large, concrete and stable strides just like I did. She could race me through the burgundy peony bushes in the imperial garden. Mother, on the other hand, took miniscule steps gingerly, as if she walked on the thin ice of the Summer Palace’s lake in winter. Mother always walked in a strangely elegant and graceful way which I always wished to have. I wondered what hid behind the heavy, jacinth, silk-embroidered skirt which kissed the floor.
I was enlightened when I was Eight.  That was the moment where I lost my innocence forever.
I still remember that awfully chilly morning. My name was called in a familiar voice in a foreign tone. My maid was combing my hair when my gaze locked with the deadpan stare that was plastered on auntie’s face. It was icy, emotionless and seared my soul. Beside her were five young and strong female servants. Some had bandages draped over their arm, some cradled a mysterious white powder; the others were armed with herculean strength. All of them were dressed in the usual solemn olive and black uniform, but never had it looked so stiff and inflexible. It was as if they were beaten from sheets of metal.
“I think it’s time,” Auntie’s voice was an octave lower than what it usually was. It was a thousand degrees more freezing as I involuntarily quivered though I was wearing my thickest swan-feather overcoat. Every ligament on my hand stiffened and sweat formed in the centre of my palms.
“Time for what?” I queried with quivering lips. I knew bad news awaited.  
“Girls, be swift and follow me," auntie ignored me. Her team and her came to get me. I slipped off the stool, pushed away my maid and took off like an arrow shot from a bow. I was lightning fast, but they were even faster. In an instant, I felt two iron grips pin me down and I toppled onto the concrete floor face first. I was dragged back to my room like a prisoner. Two hands weighed me down onto the stool as they felt like Tai-hang Mountain resting atop my little shoulders. Out of desperation, I sunk my teeth deep into one of the girl’s forearm. I could feel the filaments of flesh giving way to my beast-like bite as her blood trickled down my tongue. Her eyes glistened with sheer determination and harrowing pain like the large shiny pearls of sweat that slid down her cheeks in this intense moment.
I wanted to sprint out of this hell immediately. But my feet were locked in similar steel clutches. I felt a gush of near-boiling liquid bathe my feet. My animal-like scream could shatter the blue-porcelain as my toes clenched and my jaw tightened. They were then caked with some flaky substance and I felt my four other toes fold back.
The real hell was unleashed when rounds of something moist and slippery encircled itself around my feet. Each round was an exponential increase of excruciating torture as I felt the bones in my feet crushed into powder. It was as if my feet were grinded beneath the imperial stone mill repeatedly, which weighed at least a ton. When one bone fragment rubbed against another, it felt as if Yan Wang had perforated my soles with the billion-knife tree.
“Let me go!” I screeched, my repeated yells were a gnarled, blood-curdling cacophony that punctuated the hitherto serenity in the shadow palaces.
I wriggled, tossed and turned, bouncing up and down the stool like a fish out of water. The more I struggled, the harder I was pinned down, the tighter the bandages were wrapped and sewed on. My feet were compressed like an accordion. I bit my lip until a metallic liquid streaked onto my tongue. Strands of sweat-and-tear-drenched hair sprawled across my face. The cold autumn air burned in my airways with every desperate inhalation. My explosions of agony stopped when I passed out from exhaustion.
The black-out previously erased a substantial portion of the suffering I had experienced. I came around to see my two feet reduced to two small rotund objects. Auntie brought me my shoes on mahogany tray. They were exquisitely embroidered, but their size was clearly meant for a doll.
“Rong-er, shall we try on these pair of new shoes?” Auntie’s sugary voice was back. In a daze, I mechanically slipped on those fuchsia doll shoes. The beautiful embroidery said nothing about the foot binding terror that has scarred me for life.
From then on, I walked in an eccentrically adroit manner full of poise. I could only ambulate through the imperial garden with assistance. The red apricot buds seemed as if they were soaked in my blood. 
Autumn dyes the Forbidden City a torturous sanguineous red. Conflagrations of chrysanthemums burn away at my windowsill in one of the shadow palaces. 
Yan Wang: Guardian of the Under World
Billion-knife tree: device that people get thrown upon when they have committed some heinous crimes in their lives. 
Shadow palaces: where the princesses, princes, concubines, queen and nobles lived


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  • April 15, 2016 - 9:02pm (Now Viewing)

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