15 comments

Submitted on 05/07/2020

Categories: Drama Funny






Dear Mum, 

I’ve dyed my hair green and decided to go away for a while, to find my true calling. I may travel, I may hitchhike, I may go to college, but all I know is I won’t be here any longer.  I have several tattoos now and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you but I didn’t see the point. I didn’t see the point because it would only make you mad, and you know, despite all the things I’ve said to you and dad, I never meant to make you mad. I meant to make you proud, but you never seemed to be. You didn’t cheer when I graduated intermediate school at the top of my class.When my final score on the ACT was a 29, you hardly blinked before going back to your computer. See, it would have been one thing if you wanted me to do better, but it was like you didn’t even care. So I hope you don’t care now either, because it’s too late for that. I have my tickets to leave in my wallet, along with one of our only family pictures and several hundred dollars, but that’s all I have of who I was here. My hair is not mine anymore. It is… the hair of who I want to be in the near future, and I will get there, mum. When I said I never tried to make you mad, that was a lie. I was always trying to make you mad, because then maybe you’d look at me or yell at me or something. Just something to let me know I wasn’t imagining being alive from the very beginning. In truth, that is the reason I am leaving. Not to find who I am, but to find if I am anything at all. 

Love, even if you never knew it,

Ruslan 




Dear Mum, 

Why am I writing to you, I have no idea, but our address has been haunting me since I arrived in the city and now I feel the only way to appease it is to write this letter. I am writing it, anyhow, and that will suffice for now. I am in this city that is loud with people all living together but never knowing each other and that both intrigues and terrifies me. I came to the city to find if I was someone at all, but what if I become more lost in the ever lapping waves this city ocean rolls out every second of the day? To me it seems that the people are never ending. They go on forever and I am only a minute, no, a milli minute, in the city’s life. Maybe the city is beautiful, and maybe it is frightening but either way I want it to like me. I want the city to look at me and say, “Yes, Ruslan! We want you right here. You are going to stay for a long time.” Does that sound like a prison to you, Mum? Having to stay somewhere because it commands you stay? Not to me. It doesn’t sound like prison because usually that is for when you have been bad, but arriving in the city is because I’ve peeled myself away from our little home and I have found myself here in the sprawling land that is buildings taller than the trees and people more colorful than all the rainbows in the sky. But maybe the buildings are the trees here! And I could see the people being a rainbow, for surely they have been through enough storms to come live here, like I have. I hope you are well, Mum, and I hope this letter will find you because I am going to send it after all, as soon as I can find somewhere to send it from. 

Your son,

Ruslan





Dear Mum. 

It’s been almost a month since my last letter, and so much has happened that there is no plausible way to write it all to you. It would take a whole book to tell you all I have seen in the city! Also! I have found a college to learn from. They said usually they of course couldn’t take people off the streets, but since I was brave enough to come across the seas in search of education (which was one of many things to look for) that they could offer me several classes for free. In exchange for my classes, though, and for my apartment, the lady I met also told me I would have to work for her. And so I do! Mum, I have become a model in this loud, brash city!  Every Sunday after chapel, I go down to the studio and dress up in all sorts of suits and pants and shirts and sometimes fancy costumes in order to be put all over the billboards, all blown up and stretched out like a tortilla. Do you know what it is like for your own self to be stretched out from place to place to place like a tortilla, all warm and shining and wonderful? Me, Ruslan, with my green hair and tattoos, has been converted to a tortilla! Can you imagine that, Mum? Your own son is in the city and he is of the city. If things progress the way they are now, your son might as well BE the city!  

Oh, I am so excited,

Ruslan




Dear Mum, 

My apartment and classes are going quite well, but the landlord has decided to up the rent cost and now I am in trouble. I was thinking, so naively, that everything was paid for and all I had to do was smile nicely for the camera and wait to be a tortilla face, but that is not true. I have to get more money and I also have to eat and, I know you will be upset at this, I have also bought a new pet snake! His name is Dante; he eats whole rats! What will I do now? I do not know, but one thing my friend has suggested is to find a roommate, someone to live with. I don't really like the idea of living with someone, seeing as the whole reason I came to the city was to be alone, but perhaps it will turn out and I will be able to keep my snake. He is green like my hair, and I think he could eat my whole head if he so desired. I must give him rats so my tortilla face is not eaten, hahaha. 

Your dear child, 

Ruslan




Dear Mum, 

A few weeks ago I was walking around the park and I met a guy named Ivan. He’s an artist, apparently, but his parents were sending him to law school so he dropped out and got disowned, therefore he desperately needs a place to stay and is willing to pay rent so long story short, Mum, I found my roommate. He’s very low maintenance. He has about three shirts, two pairs of pants, one weird rope belt, and then the rest of his suitcase was just full of art supplies and books. He was sleeping on a bench when I found him, but he  recognized me almost at once as the green haired billboard guy and I was so flattered that we went to the coffee shop for a midday snack. I got a small croissant and he said he didn’t have any money so I relented and bought a ham sandwich for him only to then be reprimanded because he was a vegan. I didn’t apologize for the sandwich, because I didn’t see a point, but I did ask if he had been convicted of any felonies in his past and he said no. I asked if he was looking for a roommate to share rent with and he said yes. I asked if he perhaps wanted to meet again sometime to further discuss roommatedom and he also said yes to that so one coffee trip led to another coffee trip and that’s how there’s an extra mattress on the floor in my apartment now. The poor guy, Mum, I feel awful for him. He’s always away in a little corner, weeping for his failures or dreaming up a new art piece. Sometimes he’ll go out and wander around and come back with paint all over his pants and shirt and caked under his nails and sometimes even stuck beneath his eyelids, which looks painful, but I’m the one with eighteen tattoos so maybe I should understand by now that what we do with our bodies for art is to each their own and I should stay out of it. I’ve always wondered if Ivan would like to paint a portrait of me, because he really can paint and I would like a painting of myself to pass down among the generations, but we’re not good enough friends for me just out and ask him that. For now, though, he pays his rent on time and keeps to himself and whenever the toxic paint smell gets to be overwhelming he throws open the windows and both of us can breathe. What a grand thing it is, Mum, to throw open the windows and breathe with another human being. It reminds me, every time that I get close to toxic paint poisoning, that Ivan and I are both in some ways the same, because we would both die if we did not remember to breathe. 

Maybe one day we'll breathe together again,

Ruslan




Dear Mum, 

The days in the city have grown longer without a job. My modeling contract fell through when I got my newest tattoo. On my tongue. Apparently they had been contacted by several parents around the city to tell them that they thought by putting my picture up around the area, they were endorsing dangerous behaviors, and the latest tattoo had pushed them right over the edge. Is that what I wanted in my deepest of hearts? To push them over the edge? I think perhaps it was my intent all along. Ivan has been selling more than his fair share of art supplies to make sure we are not both evicted and while he does not complain, his teary dreams have become more frequent. I can hear him sniffling through the wall like a sad baby cow. So what can I do? Soon my tortilla face will be taken down and I will no longer be known as Ruslan: Great Model, but rather as Ruslan: The Nobody. So I must be a somebody! Ivan reminded me that I was indeed a somebody this morning when he sold his paintbrush and said quietly, “For to be a roommate, you must also make sacrifices.” Then I knew that not only were we roommates, but we were friends. 

In disgrace, 

Ruslan







Dear Mum,

Tattoo shops like people with lots of good tattoos! And I have a new job and the tattoo parlour down the street from Ivan’s favorite Waffle House and I will start working there on Monday. This is what I have been training for at my school, Mum! To be an artist different but the same as Ivan, because we are both changing the way things look, only I am changing the people and he is changing the canvas. I have found new friends, wildly different from Ivan and differently wild from everyone I’ve known. They have these parties that aren’t regular parties, but instead parties that are so big and expensive and crazy that apparently it takes a lot of effort to get invited, but we’re such good friends now that not only am I invited, but I am now on the committee that chooses who can be invited. Of course I told Ivan he could come with me whenever he wanted, but he never wanted to come with me. He still doesn’t. He just wants to sit at home and mope about his lack of artistic inspiration. I promise there would be plenty of artistic inspiration at these parties. There’s so much to see and do and feel and be… It’s like all the world has come together to see and do and feel and think beautiful, wonderful, enormously vibrant things and I know Ivan would appreciate the time and effort that we put into the making of these events if he would only join us for one night, but he refuses, and I can’t make him go if he doesn’t want to. One day I hope he realizes that he was missing out on all these starry night enchantments, but until then, Mum, he’s going to cry at home on his mattress until another idea chases him to be splattered in paint, a martyr for his art. 

A proud partygoer, 

Ruslan




Dear Mum,

I finally wore Ivan down enough to get him to come to one of our parties, and it didn’t go well. We got there at the exact right time and when we got there I was duly rushed off to help with catering. Ivan wandered around for a while and I thought he was doing alright until near the end of the party, when I ran outside to several shouts. And who was at the middle of it all? Ivan, splashing around in the deep end of the pool.  Someone had pushed him or… Or maybe he had jumped in. Luckily for me, I still have a roommate now because Ivan knew how to swim pretty well and didn’t die. Mum, what would I have done then, really? Oh, Ivan, troublesome munchery, now I see very clearly why you had to stay home and not go to parties. Forgive me for making you go to the party and getting chased by the philosophy major and falling or having to jump in the pool to get away and ruining your phone in the process. I really do apologize. Ivan is moping around the apartment even more than before, but at least he has a mural to work on now, and some gallery walk in London or Paris or one of the capitals. I would go with him, I guess, but I have to stay and attend to the apartment and to Dante. 

If you were here I’d want you at all my parties,

Ruslan



Dear Mum,

Ivan is missing. He didn’t say anything about leaving, and all his things are still piled semi neatly in his suitcase or folded on his mattress, and I know if he was leaving he would have taken at least his new paintbrush. I mean, unless I knew him even less than I thought I did, and he was just so fed up with my green hair and tongue tattoos that he had to leave once and for all. I don’t see him doing that though. 

(Where’d you go, Ivan?) 

Mum, today these little sixteen year olds came to my apartment for matching tattoos and they had just met and that made me start to wonder: how did you and Dad meet? These kids I met today; Heidi and Lewis, they met at an underground sandwich shop. Did you and Dad have a story like that one, Mum? They told me they wanted tattoos because they wanted to remember each other forever; to be permanent. I wonder if that’s what I’ve been doing all along, with every new tattoo I make and every one I have done. With the nineteen tattoos I have made myself permanent, even though eventually I will turn to dust like the rest of the people living in this world. All I know is, I don’t want to be the forgettable kind of dust, Mum. I don’t want to blow away in the wind like I never was here at all. And I don’t want Ivan to leave me like he was never even here at all, so I guess I’ll have to find him. 

Like Ivan, I didn’t know I’d miss you until you were gone,

Ruslan



Dear Mum, 

Today I feel electric, like someone has placed firecrackers in both my ears and let them fizzle until they exploded my whole head. I’ve been down and around all through the city looking for traces of Ivan but he’s nowhere to be seen or heard and because he was so reclusive, no one has any clue of where he could have gone. I even tried to track down that little Pluto girl, I think her name was Harlowe, but she was gone too. His parents pretended they didn’t have a son named Ivan. He didn’t really have any old girlfriends that knew him past high school. There’s just… Nothing. 

When I got to the coffee shop, Heidi and Lewis were there, and they were sitting at the same table that Ivan told me he was vegan and couldn’t eat the ham sandwich at. They waved me in and I walked to the table, eager to distract myself and to see how their new tattoos were doing, but I ended up warning them about how you should never let your best friends out of your sight and they were a little (rightfully) freaked out by my caution. Then the waiter came by and gave me a look of death and I smiled at them and ordered my croissant. Anyway, though, Mum, Heidi and Lewis were up for a challenge and they decided to help me find my missing pal Ivan. I can only hope now that the city will treat Ivan as well as it has treated me, because he has not become accustomed to the ways of it, especially not in the way the shadows move at night. 

Here’s to my electric friends, Lewis and Heidi,

Ruslan 





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15 comments

Avani Gupta
16:10 May 27, 2020

I loved this story! Is this the one that you said was like the 'sequel' to your other story Sarang? Keep on writing!

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Rhondalise Mitza
16:18 May 27, 2020

Nope, this one goes with The Orbit, The Reign of A Supervillain, and Morris Cupcake the Sandwich Boy!

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Avani Gupta
16:22 May 27, 2020

Okay... which one relates to Sarang?

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Rhondalise Mitza
16:24 May 27, 2020

Aw, I don't have one that goes with this yet. :( You might like Saudade, though! It has a word thing with it too.

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Avani Gupta
16:28 May 27, 2020

Okay, thanks! I will definitely read that!

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Rhondalise Mitza
16:29 May 27, 2020

Thanks, Avani! You bloom with positivity every time you comment! :D

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Sadia Faisal
15:43 May 25, 2020

nice story, please like my story if you like it and follow me, also send feedback of my story if you would like to

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Len Mooring
07:31 May 15, 2020

Great story-telling, Rhondalise. Great writing too. I love the way you handle words. I think I will think of you as Charlize Dickens in future.

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Rhondalise Mitza
13:51 May 15, 2020

That is legitimately my favorite author (Charles Dickens is) so that is a compliment of the highest degree haha.

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Sam T.
16:10 May 08, 2020

I enjoyed reading! Your writing is amazing and conveyed strong emotions subtly, and the descriptions of city life were on-point.

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Rhondalise Mitza
17:46 May 08, 2020

Hi, thank you so much! I've never lived in the city but I was in Philadelphia for a few weeks and I really liked it, so I'm happy that could be conveyed in my writing. If you've read some of my other stories you can see more of my characters because the way I've been writing recently wraps them into a similar universe. :D Also I read your stories too and will comment there shortly. Cheers, friend!

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Sam T.
17:56 May 08, 2020

Thankyou for the support :) and it was a pleasure to read your lovely writing

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Zilla Babbitt
17:12 May 07, 2020

Love it!

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:57 May 07, 2020

This story, again, goes along with my other stories which I have been working on compiling into one big marble of a story called (fittingly enough) Marbles Like The Ocean. Some of the pieces in this collection were too long or short for Reedsy, but most of them are here. :) hope you like it!

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