tas (yellowbrickrd)

Australia

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.
-the wizard of oz

17
she/her

Message from Writer

I drop in and out a lot, but always return, however briefly.

music: lorde, the strokes, queen (a pretty weird mix)
show: bbc's sherlock (definition of high quality) also the queens gambit and young royals :))
movie: dead poets society, maurice, lotr (love old movies)
reading currently: Piranesi (Susanna Clarke)

Always glad to receive and give feedback, if you want a review just lmk

joined mid August 2020

Your Special Day

May 17, 2021

There’s a photo, hanging slightly lopsided on the fridge. The blue denim shorts and red hair ribbons have faded, gently brushed by the sun over many years. The once crisp focus achieved only with Dad’s camera has been replaced by a sort of caramel softness. But the fervent emotion portrayed by the three central figures has not eased with time. The most left of the three is Rory. His dark eyes are inflamed, lit with the sort of unrestrained outrage only young children can show. This violent expression is hilariously contrasted by his t-shirt reading: keep calm and ask mum. The most right of the three is me. I kneel on the polished wood floor, staring with reverence half real, half fake at our new monarch. And the monarch is perfectly centred, adorned with an orange paper crown and pinching a small, porcelain figure between thumb and forefinger; it looks huge in her tiny hand. My younger sister’s face is glowing, filled with a pure joy that spills from her eyes and is still contagious, wringing smiles from its place on the fridge.
 
On the sixth of January, at the family breakfast table, Switzerland eats cake with a lucky charm baked inside. According to Christian tradition, this was the day the three kings went to visit baby Jesus in Bethlehem. But it’s not really about the bible story anymore, it’s about cake. Never has eating cake held so much suspense; for the bearer of the sugar-dusted piece containing the miniature king becomes ruler, with the power to order around their family for the day. Would you be a nice ruler? Or strident, demanding? Get me my hat, run! Get it! When I was young, Three Kings Day was very special. It would always begin with the arrival of Rory and his parents, our indispensable family friends. Sydney doesn’t have a large Swiss community, so we kept each other close. It was exciting, reading the yellowed cookbook with Dad translating from German, mixing the batter until our arms were sore, watching it rise in the oven, beautifully hemispherical, noticing the house slowly expand with a rich, honeyed scent. Then all huddling around the table; Nana, with her flaming red hair and dwindling eyesight always cut the cake. We would bounce in our seats as we were handed our slices, for somewhere in that dome of sugary, buttery goodness was a little king that could grant us the giddy joy of success gained entirely from luck.
 
But the definition of special is better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. These days you can eat cake whenever you want. Walk into the supermarket and there it is, your special day written in icing across the top, $9.95, grab a spoon at the coffee machine. I’m not exactly sure when we stopped celebrating Three Kings Day. I guess at some point the idea of being bossed around for a day was just too unappealing, we had things to do, and we could eat cake whenever we wanted. As the world progresses will fewer and fewer things become special? That’s true for an individual, isn’t it?
 
I was ten at the time that photo was taken. I was in grade four, chasing my friends around at recess, reading Harry Potter for the first time and still playing dress-ups. I am very different now; my friends are very different now. We dream of being doctors, journalists, and business managers, not monarchs. Our imaginations stopped dancing among the stars and instead sat quietly at the top of the stairs: simple, achievable, in straight backed chairs with feet planted firmly on the floor.
 
Growing up is an accumulation of little moments, like the first successful shoelace tie, or the last bedtime story, or the realisation that the most recent photo on your fridge is from a nonsensical cake tradition that wouldn’t be so enthralling anymore.
 
I recently met with Rory. He is much taller now and no longer cries when things don’t go his way. I decided to ask him if he remembered that funny little tradition our families shared. I figured he wouldn’t at first (moments from so long ago don’t float near the surface), but then there would be a vivid spark of recognition in his eyes and an animated ooh. We would talk, wandering down hazy lanes, helping the pictures in our minds become clearer. We would get caught up in the past, floating in nostalgia, and bake a cake the way we used to, with lots of mishaps and tasting spoons dipped into the batter at five-minute intervals. We would flick through the cumbersome cookbook, being gentle with the brittle pages, translate Nana’s pencilled notes in the margins. My sister would make her special vanilla frosting and we would take a photo, lit with the wide smiles of creative collaboration, to hang next to the one from our childhoods. But he didn’t remember. His bewildered expression closed the door on our past. So, we bought a supermarket mud cake and ate it in the park with plastic spoons, while talking about university plans.

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9 Comments
  • Writing4Life

    Woww what an incredible piece!! The ending is so poignant, yet in a strange way, quite beautiful. Also, AYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY I LIVE IN SYDNEY TOO!!!!!! Must mean you're in lockdown too, eh?


    about 2 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Re: Thanks. ^u^ And ikr ugh like heart: chill.


    2 months ago
  • danee

    Re: wassup buddy, how's about that collab? ;)


    3 months ago
  • 4ExtraShotsOfEspresso

    re: Thank you! It means a lot! Faron's pov is gonna have more (censored) cussing, Davaeon's pov is gonna have more sadistic superiority-complex kinda thoughts, and Laiken-
    Well Laiken is just tired.


    3 months ago
  • Starlitskies

    Hey Tas! (Is it okay if I call you that?) Just came to make a correction. Me being the scatterbrain I am, I've accidentally switched the name of a title!!! Yes, it's 'Shadow Sister', not 'Star Child'. *facepalms rather hard*. Idk what I was thinking, lol. Sorry if I sent you on a wild goose chase.


    4 months ago
  • Starlitskies

    Re: Almost forgot. *facepalms* Thank you for your comment on my piece!


    4 months ago
  • Starlitskies

    Re: You're welcome and I really meant it. <3 Thank you so much for the tip and the recommendations as well! I've read an abridged version of Jane Eyre before and I must agree with you in terms of plot, but I guess I'll pick up the original and read it. I'll be sure to check out the others as well! :)
    I understand what you mean by getting stuck in the same genre. I don't necessarily identify myself as a poet but poetry is all I’ve been reading and writing these days, lol. I've been reading a lot of Ocean Vuong—one of his poetry collections, 'Night Sky with Exit Wounds', and now I'm reading his novel 'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous'. It's an epistolary novel and it's mostly written in poetic prose. I would definitely recommend it.
    My favourite book is called ‘Star Child’. It’s the third out of a series named ‘The Seven Sisters’ and is about seven sisters adopted from all over the world, but that’s just me doing a bad summarisation, the series is one of the most interesting I’ve ever read and I haven't even reached the end yet! XD The third book is set in England and had the most beautiful descriptions and imagery, and a character I fell in love with (I identify with her quite a lot!). Its writer, Lucinda Riley, is my favourite author and she has such a beautiful and rich voice. Her style of writing is what I want to achieve with my fiction. If you feel that a series is too much to commit to right now, you can check out her stand-alone books. There’s quite a lot of which I’ve only read one named ‘Italian Girl’ which explores the thin line between affection and obsession through an epic love story.
    Whew! Sorry for the onslaught, I’m literally writing reviews here, haha, but that’s me if you ever ask me about books. Once again, thank you for the book recs and it was really nice talking with you. :)


    4 months ago
  • Starlitskies

    This is such a beautiful essay! I love the story here and your use of language is impressive; it's very poignant and nuanced. You had me engaged in the story so much that when Rory didn't remember I was heartbroken! This is an excellent piece and you should be proud of it! When I first joined write the world, your Wednesday Words piece was on the homepage; I really fell in love with that piece. Your writing style is truly wonderful. Do you have any tips to build a strong voice as yours? Or any book recommendations or authors? I really want to get better with my fiction and essay writing skills.
    Re: Thank you for your sweet comment on my piece! I like your interpretation of my essay as well! <3


    4 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Phenomenal


    4 months ago