All I eat is cereal. Not just one kind of cereal though, I’m not a monster. Every day I start the morning with a sensible bowl of Muesli and every day I finish the day with a bowl piled high with glowing, delicious, honey sweet Golden Nuggets. You see, cereal is reliable. It is easy. It stays with you. With every bowl I know what I’m going to get. I eat from the same 3 bowls every day and use 3 matching silver spoons for each bowl. A simple, steadfast regime.

My morning bowl is yellow, with blue birds flying around the rim, wings outstretched as they constantly survey my kitchen from where they are printed on the ceramic. I chose this as my morning bowl because the yellow wakes up my eyes and the birds remind me that there is indeed a vibrant, wild world outside of my cramped, grey kitchen. The yellow rim adorns my cereal with a glowing halo, as if blessed by a higher power in its mission to elicit such joy in me from my very first delicious morsel of the day, till the last. The bowl itself was painted by my niece, wrapped by her mother – my sister, Felicity – and gifted to me in the post two weeks after my 35th birthday. Happy Birthday! was scrawled on the accompanying note, presumably by my niece as the p’s were written backwards, and Lots of Love, Felicity, James and Alice, written at the end. I was glad they had not forgotten, and I blamed the two-week delay on the postal service. Or perhaps they had to wait for the blue birds to dry on the bowl. In any case, it is warming not to be forgotten.

For breakfast, the cereal I use most often is a supermarket brand Muesli, which is a mixture of oats, nuts, and shriveled fruits. The raisins are my favourite, I often pick them out as a treat before I drench everything in milk.  Felicity told me, as well as the advertisement on the back of the cereal box, that this was a healthy option which would start my day off right. She claimed the nuts would give me ‘healthy fats’. I was not entirely convinced, but I trust her and why would she lie about something like that? After eating it every morning for the past 6 months I must have healthy fats coursing throughout my entire body. I’m sure I would miss the raisins too if I changed cereal.

For lunchtimes, my blue bowl is lucky enough to have claimed the regular spot. It is quite the old-timer, having made it all the way from childhood to young adulthood, and now it remains my ever-faithful vessel for my 1pm meal. Decorating it is a simple finger-wide green stripe circling the outside. It is distinctive enough that I managed to keep track of it even throughout my University years, escaping the fate of being snatched by my flat mates, which unfortunately befell my far more plainly coloured white and black bowls which my mother had bought for me from Ikea before I moved into university accommodation. I cannot claim that the bowl thieves were intentionally spiteful in their actions, as half of my flatmates also had newly purchased, black and white bowls, presumably bought by their parents. I’ll admit, on an occasion where I had no clean bowls, I myself took another person’s bowl into temporary custody, but I always dutifully returned it clean once used. My blue bowl with its green stripe, however, escaped such communal use by the way it stood out indisputably as mine. Perhaps I might have let a close friend borrow it if they had asked, yet such as situation never arose. Whether from a lack of close friends visiting my kitchen or because they needed a plate rather than a bowl, I will never be sure.

For lunch, my chosen feast is a mixture of two cereals. I don’t mean that on some days I eat one type, and other days another. What I mean is that I mix two kinds of cereal together in the same bowl to create my very own hybrid super cereal. While I like consistency, I do like to mix it up sometimes, literally. The first type I use is dark brown, slightly cardboard flavoured Bran Flakes which, on its own, becomes far too mushy when mixed with milk for too long, however I know the fibre is ideal for digestion. To prevent the mush, I mix it with charmingly sweet apple cinnamon flavoured Cheerios, which have the dual benefit of adding a crunchy texture, while also providing an image of healthy benefits in my mind from the apple. I read once that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels. With that health kick combined with all those healthy fats from my Muesli, I reckon I’ll live a long life yet.   

Now, finally, we come to my final bowl of the day. It is a dark, rich red coloured bowl, with a curling, spiraling purple dragon emblazoned across the whole surface. Its wings are small from a lack of space, but its claws are long, the talons extended in a defensive position next to its gaping jaw, which are lined with piercing white teeth. Slanted, golden eyes peer up at you from the curve of the bowl, coming alive when light reflects off the shiny surface. I named him Spike. Or shall I say, we named him Spike. My old girlfriend, Lydia. It was a gift from her from a visitor shop when we spent a blustery day at an old seaside castle. She had seen me admiring it and bought it when I wasn’t looking to surprise me with later. Presents on days that aren’t your birthday always feel even more special, knowing that someone wants to make you happy and is thinking of you, not because they’re obliged to by the date, but because every day you mean something to them. Later that night, feeling in the mood for some more dragons, we watched The Hobbit together and dubbed our new purple companion as Sir Spike.     

I can’t imagine eating out of a different bowl or staring into the eyes of a different purple dragon each night. If I stare into its face for long enough, sometimes I can almost see a smile. A shine in its eye as if there is soul there trying to reach out. Trying to keep me company. Almost as if it knows about the emptiness etched into the house, the coldness that crept into the rooms after she left. But every night when I have dinner from my red bowl, with my smiling purple dragon, I feel just a little bit warmer inside.

Every day for dinner is the same. Glorious Golden Nuggets. A tumbling pile of sweet, crispy golden treasure guarded faithfully by Sir Spike. While not the most nutritious, by the evening I usually feel beaten down by the realisation of yet another evening alone. I take comfort in the knowledge that she is still out there, happy, even if it is without me. I take greater comfort in the familiar honey flavour of my Golden Nuggets, even as the thought wears me down, night after night, that she didn’t think I was enough. Once upon a time she did, but I should have known that rarely do things last forever. Now all I know for certain is what cereal I will have every day, from what bowl, and what colour that bowl will be. This at least, blesses me with some form of stability, and peace of mind. I just pray that none of them will be discontinued.

June 05, 2020 21:12

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Ingrid Johnson
22:25 Jun 10, 2020

Hiya! I'm here for the critique circle. I loved this story so much. I really like how creative and out-of-the-box the concept is - I'm a bit fan of simple stories that have layers underneath. It's also really cool to go on a kind of tour of this characters life through the types of cereal they like and the crockery they use. Great job! :)


Foxtrot Campbell
13:36 Jun 12, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm very glad you enjoyed it :)


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