Glass by Hawra’a Khalfan

“You are beautiful

Your bronze skin

That dark hair

and those full eyebrows.

Body shaped like an hourglass. 

Every inch of you is beautiful.

Worldwide they speak of the beauty of Arab women

You are what they would call ‘exotic’ looking”

He asked me to cover my body but was kind enough to let my hands and face breathe.

He asked me to cover my body because it might otherwise catch the eye,

Wear dull colors, and oversized clothes to shield your form.

Yes, daddy.

Speak softly and never reveal your voice!

Certainly, dad.

Keep your gaze low and not to lock eyes with a man

Of course, father.

You may not go to Medical school, it doesn’t matter that your grades are high. How will you be able to be a mother and a wife if your youth is stolen by this ambition?

But, father? What if I wasn’t born to be a wife?

Are you being disobedient to me?

No, Master. As you please, Master.

Even at the end, when I managed to do all of the above

One day my filthy husband decided one prized possession was not enough.

Seven children I brought to the world yet our life together was not satisfying anymore.

She walked in thinking she was a princess.

The poor girl does not know what’s coming.

Days go by and the cycle repeats itself.

I went to visit the first captain of my soul,

Utterly filled with resentment and pain

“I will never forgive you, father,”

I yelled as I cast off all the layers I was wearing.

“My youth, gone! I showed promise, but that’s shattered like glass. My goals? Diminished into an uncountable amount of pieces? Why? Answer me father!”

He looked up at me with a smile,

“What you don’t understand, dear daughter is that you broke enough rules thinking your dreams mattered. You are a mother of seven and a doctor’s wife, why are you ungrateful? What more could you want of life?”

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