Speak by Nouf Nafisee

Posted on April 27, 2013 by


She awoke gasping in the middle of the night, drenched in the sweat that she didn’t feel emerge. Organized and perfectly parallel scratches ran down her arms. No, she did not own a cat. The poor thing could not stop hissing her own name over and over.


She wanted to make sure that she still existed, that she hadn’t vanished. Yet.

She was at constant battle with time. Word after word would drunk-drive out of her mouth, sloppy and harmful. With every passing second, her voice grew louder and fiercer.

She spoke with company. She spoke alone. She spoke in her sleep. She’d lose her voice and still be blabbering like an imbecile. Over and over she’d scratch her name into her own freckled skin until her DNA stained all the towels her mother bought her.

She shook exasperated in the lake of her sweat, with the engine that is her mouth still being fueled by her own fear. She shoved her purple duvet cover between her fangs and let out the most thrilling aggravated screech that was, of course, muffled.

She thought about that thin kid at the back of the class. How is he so quiet all the time? Isn’t he afraid?! What if people forget him? How can he be so content, so secure? She was disgusted.

Why can’t she be like that?

Nora was petrified that if she let her voice rest for just a moment, it would pack its things, grab a sandwich for the road and leave.

We are symbols. We are the words we speak. We are the man-made letters that translate into meaning. We make ourselves, but not always like the results. We are the result of millions of years of genetic and symbolic enhancement.


We should start acting like it.

Nora was silent until the age of six. Then, she found out what her vocal chords could do.

Posted in: Speak