I Dreamed a Dream

I Dreamed a Dream

Warning: This piece contains references to gun violence, trauma, and brutality.

By Ray Huang ’23. Art by Alex Park ’23.

anticipation makes everything better – i think
this while waiting at the chocolate shop, the smell 
of sugar permeating everyone, the way a label
remolds. the girl working the blender is a 
friend. i move to say hi, but a crowd has clustered 
around her. she dumps in milk and sugar and cacao powder,
announcing each item with a tone of ownership found only in 
married couples and politicians. right before 
capping the blender, she perks up, as if recalling
an item at the grocery store. beaming, she bends down,
scooping something up.

a cat! she declares, promptly dumping the clueless feline
in and hitting start before anyone can react. but 
it doesn’t matter – because no one reacts. looking around i wonder 
if anyone else can smell
the brutal absurdity hovering in the air like stinky
tofu. like an unpatriotic soldier, the blender harshly
clicks and clangs, struggling to dice through the hopefully 
now-dead cat. the sounds hit my ears like bullets being 
emptied into a black church / white school / yellow village
because the cat was a noncombatant, and it smells like ‘Nam
the blender keeps going and shrieking and 
nothing. as abrupt as the start, a giant chocolate bar emerges from the 
blender, perfectly packaged. she tears the wrapper off, 
hefting the bar into the air as one would never do with a medal of 
honor. i can see the fur snaking through the chocolate, 
and the room, finally, is dead silent. as if
everyone just realized the horror of her act. 
i march forward to speak up, to protest, to voice what
we are all feeling.

but. still smiling, she exclaims
cacao? more like
catcao.

the room erupts in earth-shaking
laughter. 

i am chuckling too. no,
i’m hysterical.

oh how great is it to be nothing
and still 
American.