Brielle P. Chor

Singapore

INFJ-A
She/Her
Cat lover
Fiction reader
Pianist
Dabbler in dance
Avid pencil sketcher
Literature!
Believer in cultural roots
Piquant tastes
Chemistry geek

Have a frabjous day!

Joined in May 2020

Message to Readers

Be sure to refer to the footnotes as you read the piece, or else it may seem very confusing to you if you aren't familiar with Sylvia Plath. Feedback greatly appreciated:))

Plath's 103°

November 1, 2020

FREE WRITING

29
Sun hats, broad-brimmed and languorous, dip their tips into the sensual redness of the late-evening Sun as they return to the comfort of homes to be sweetly perched atop the racks. All clocks have pressed the hands of Time against the eighteenth hour, and yet a certain young lady remains entrapped within the nook of a lanky street, half-heartedly engaged in small talk.

Resting an arm on the coffee table, Shura props her thoughts up with a graceless effort, attempting attention, but almost immediately slips back into a lackadaisical reverie. The trees, all swelled with old auguries, pour their sympathies to her in rustles, and she smiles like Regret, watching the red honeyed air; the fluidity of the shadows as they become something of an inky penumbra, creeping up the bark; clinging onto the twisted branches, then slackening like hot glue, dripping with-----

“Miss Eto!”

A flinch catches her. With her attention now steadied, she looks at the man sitting before her, realising his emptied teacup and patience, and lets out a nervous laugh.

“Sorry, Mr Clay. I was just admiring the trees for a bit. They really are quite enigmatic in the redness of the evening, and it’s almost oracular when they…” she trails off at the sight of a rather unimpressed Mr Clay, and becomes more quiet, “I apologise… You were saying?”

The man, finally possessing her serious attention, says, “Miss Eto, if I were to put this in all politeness, I’m not offended, but it’s quite upsetting to speak to a complete wall of a person with such demeaning efforts to engage her partner, and one whom you would not even be having tea with if your mother hadn’t requested for it.” 

He rises from his seat to leave, and Shura shifts with some discomfort, but it is what follows that exhausts her with both indignation and dismay.

“And a word of advice, if you aren’t interested, at least save the next person from wasting their time on you, ” Mr Clay walks away, muttering, “Admiring the trees… What does she take me for?”

He leaves, and she relaxes almost instantly that it is comical how stiff she was before. She rests her head on one arm, sighing a little, waning a little, deliberating about things unknown. Then, she begins.

“And he didn’t even pay the bill. For goodness sake, what a gentleman!” Shura stands abruptly with an exclaim, and a slap collides with her wrist so forcefully that she retracts herself with a small shriek. A coat of blue bends himself towards the ground, hand to face, somewhat groaning at the pain of the unintentional attack.

“Ah! Sir, I’m so sorry. Are you alright? Did I hit your eye?” Flustered, she bends down to try and help the man, but then catches herself, for what sounded like painful grunts before, now resembles a boyish laughter. Confused, she asks, “Sir, are you… laughing?”

The man, still in peals of chuckles, straightens himself slowly, and lowers his hand to place it in his pocket, “You sure are a free spirit, Miss Eto. To think I pitied you for a moment, and wished to provide some comfort, but this attack, it seems to put my former impressions to shame.”

With his face now unobstructed, Shura witnessed at once the playful freckles that accompanied his flourish, and the pleasing shape of his smile, almost startled again by such a frisky soul. But as she collects herself, she hears it again more clearly-----Miss Eto-----and colours, “So, you saw everything, Sir.”

The man, sensing a faint embarrassment from his new-found acquaintance, lets his laughter taper off, venturing for some encouragement instead, “Dailon, Miss Eto. My name is Dailon, and given my teasing, I should hardly be a ‘Sir’ at all. What I mean to say is that your actions were well-measured, and you provided me with the comforting humour of knowing that there are still theatrical women in this town.” And as predicted, Shura begins to meet his eyes again, but beneath the brief stillness of their stares, it is very safe to declare that he predicted none of what was to come, for Shura begins to laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Dailon pauses, then becomes intriguely electrified by the lady, betting on a hopeful potential, “Miss Eto, did I say something quite amusing?”

Between her liberal gasps for breath, Shura continues to laugh, “No, Si-----I mean, Dailon. Of course not, it was the amused shout-----the theatrical comeback-----a miracle! That knocked me out¹…” Tickled, she continues in her wild display, unravelling in front of her new-found acquaintance.

Dailon, feeling his brimming excitement so strongly, cannot help but grin like a fool, “Is that so? I’m not quite sure I get what you mean-----”

“But you do! I know you do! Nobody says ‘theatrical’ like that and expects to get away with-----you’re smiling! You’re laughing! You’re just testing me!”

Both fall into the heartiest laughter, feeling completely at ease with each other, and by no means willing to rest themselves even as the evening passes, and so, the lady proposes a walk, and the man, refreshed by the switch in roles, accepts it.

***

“You mean to tell me that you recite poems whenever it suits the situation? You mean to tell me that when you accidentally cut your finger, you begin spouting lines with ‘onions’ and ‘pink fizz’² and-----”

“Stop teasing me already! And yes, I do it to remember them. You know why, ” Shura lightly slaps Dailon’s shoulder playfully, still tickled even after thirty minutes into the walk.

Dailon laughs, “Exactly, which is why you should come, Shura. There is no meaning without poetry, but there is no life if you never find another to share it with. They don’t sell literature on the shelves anymore. It’s banned, but if you come, it won’t have to be. Not anymore.” He breathes, eager for her reply, but she becomes quiet.

“Shura?”

Shura pauses, not looking at Dailon, “I don’t think that’s necessary. I’m quite content with musing by myself.”

“Shura, we’re both dreamers, and we both read Plath once. I think we both know that that isn’t why you’re declining my offer, ” he pushes for an answer. There is an uncomfortable silence, and once again, both are pining for a hopeful potential.

Shura turns away from him, “We’re here. This is my place.” A small house is illuminated by the dim street lamps, revealing a humble garden of red poppies.

Upon seeing them, Dailon becomes strictly resolved, for nobody grows poppies here, unless they had a red heart blooming so astoundingly through their coat³. He knows that Shura will be swayed, and so he tells her, “I can’t convince you, Shura, if you don’t want me to. But you’ll convince yourself. I know you will. And once you do, you will know where to find me.”

Shura watches him as he steps back, always facing her, and she finds herself bewitched by a temptation so utterly ridiculous not to succumb to.

“Nor you, nor him, nor him, nor him. My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats⁴, ” he tips his hat with a charm, and leaves the lady to the night, as she keeps watching him dissolve into the shadows.

Shura, without any further encouragement, whispers the remains of his words, and completes his wish.

“To paradise, ” she says, and realises it right after.

“Fever 103°. Is that what they call themselves?”
¹ A reference to Sylvia Plath’s poem, ‘Lady Lazarus’.
² A reference to Sylvia Plath’s poem, ‘Cut’.
³ A reference to Sylvia Plath’s poem, ‘Poppies in October’.
⁴ A reference to Sylvia Plath’s poem, ‘Fever 103°’.

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11 Comments
  • mirkat

    your writing is electric and delicious and poetic and i totally want my friends Shura and Dailon to emerge from the computer screen.... ahhhh, how? Shura seems like such a strong character and i think she could really develop/love to see her backstory. anyway.... she kinds reminds me of lizzy bennet (have you read p+p? you should, i totally recommend it!) with the humor and romanticism and strong female character, etc. on a diff. note..... i have to read some slyvis path poems now, right? can you recommend a book/collection of them for me to read? much appreciated ;D <3<3<3


    22 days ago
  • The Dreamer

    This is probably the most creative short story I"ve read. It had such character! I can't wait to read more.


    5 months ago
  • black_and_red_ink

    I enjoy Plath's poetry a lot as well. This was amazingly well-written. I love all the details and the poetry references. The dialogue was also so well-written. This is a masterpiece and I'll definitely follow you for more.


    5 months ago
  • queenie

    This sorta hits home, because I live in the same town Sylvia Plath lived (for a short time) and died in. There's a bust of her in the lobby of my high school


    5 months ago
  • NS Kumar

    I love this story. It's so breathtakingly beautiful. Please do continue to write more stories like this one!


    6 months ago
  • outoftheblue

    Replying: hey, thank you so much for the suggestions! Think I'm going to start with Ariel.


    6 months ago
  • outoftheblue

    know I'm late to this, but this is probably the most creative short story I've read on here.
    PS: I've been meaning to read Plath for some time now but haven't gotten around to it, any suggestions on where to start?


    6 months ago
  • Chloe :) <3

    This piece is really cool! I really liked it


    6 months ago
  • .amelia.

    Thanks for entering the comp. Amazing descriptions!
    best of luck! :)


    6 months ago
  • Deleted User

    Thanks for joining the bracket challenge Brielle! Glad to have you!


    6 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    HOW ON EARTH ARE YOU SO TALENTED?!? SOMEONE NEEDS TO PUBLISH YOUR WRITING ALREADY!! YOUR WORK IS BETTER THAN SHELVES WORTH OF BOOKS I'VE READ!!!


    6 months ago