Rib by Laila Wael

Posted on April 19, 2014 by


My mother always tells me, I put too much salt in food, I add too much portions in the plate, and everything I do is on either extremes of the spectrum; too much or none at all. She shakes her head in disapproval, stretching her lips in a censorious sign.

I fold in within myself, beneath all these folds of my skin I cringe deeper, shrink into a ball of disappointment and shame. “I am sorry” I want to utter. I want to apologize for everything; for every extra pinch of salt that I added, for everything that was too much or nothing at all. I want to paint sorry all over my skin, turn into a canvas and show my regret and deepest apology. The truth is, mother, there was nothing that was enough, or nothing just right. I see it. I see it all. I see all the hidden looks of disappointment and monitoring me that shower me at night. I see them all and you know I am on the verge of the highest mountain free-falling head first into the nothingness. I see it all, and I see you curl your lips in utter disgust. I am no longer just bones and flesh, mother. I am the deepest, sincerest apology a woman gave birth to. I am the regret and shame that you have carried as a burden when you were seventeen and shy. I am the weight on your fragile bones. I am the offspring of the long line of trailing women who looked down, and approved on crawling on their knees. I am what you made me. There is nothing you can disapprove of. I inherited your weak bones; your awfully unstructured excuses about not being around when your seat was right next to mine.

Your deep stares into nothingness. I took it all. I took it all inside me and I built myself around it, I place bone beside bone and glue them together with strangers’ compliments and glaring eyes of men who see me fuckable enough. And now I am old enough and young enough. I am old enough to carry the weight of my universe, galaxies, my booming stars and exploding rocket ships inside my stomach. But I am still too young to realize that my life without you equals life with you, and there is no need for any talk around mid night. You read a poem of mine once and said why so harsh? Why so strong? Why so sad? I couldn’t answer you then. But I swear, I swear, I swear, That you couldn’t note the scars of burns that went all over my arm or what you claimed; I had enough food in my plate and no need to eat anymore.

This is not a demand for apology mother, but you know what? I am too fucking god damn tired of the world you are trying to plant me in. Society’s labels and the names that stain your shirt with blood but for me it’s roses, roses, roses, in a garden. So just fucking stop trying to take me in. Stop making me inhale all your poisonous talk about morals, and the lousy girls who claim their right to their body. Because you. You almost made me trip into my burning pit of hell, with your “should have been”s and “must have been”s. And we saw “EAT PRAY LOVE” together and you said the only way a woman can be complete if she loved man. How dare you? How dare you stigmatize me and all the others as incomplete women, when I, far much younger, have lived much more than you. I said I inherited your weak bones and I glued them. I possess bones made of steel. I can’t feel you weeping. My ribs are bent from the bullets you once aimed on me. You just fire, fire, fire. And to tell you the truth, mother, I am so god damn tired. My ribs can’t host any more empty vessels of lonely souls. Or act as a seat for wounded birds. Or bare anymore for your miserable stories. My ribs are aching, aching, aching. This is if I am dying, dying, dying. I am not ending this with an apology, rather with a vow. If I had a daughter like myself, I would never teach her what you have taught me.

Posted in: Rib