Written by Aya Telmissany

O Captain! My Captain!

My father was rather hot-tempered. The slightest misbehavior of my seven-year-old self would anger him. All I wanted was to make him happy. But being a seven-year old, I made mistakes just like any seven-year old would do. I often wet the bed, and forgot to arrange my books. I painted on the walls of my room and tore blankets to make safe tents. I messed with his shaving cream to float a cloud in my bath. But I was always sorry and never made the same mistake twice, and I would sometimes try to make it up. All I had to offer were pretty words in bad handwriting, and pink drawings which he tore and threw away. I asked him why, but My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; my father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will.

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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less travelled by. I saw my mother continuously shattered by love, until she had no love left to spend on me. My father had run out of that, too. I shattered at the slightest mention of forever; anxious that maybe there was no forever in store for me. My mother told me that romance did not exist, that love was dead, and that this was a time of mutual respect. I couldn’t settle for mutual respect, so I loved— or at least I thought I did, and I watched as I crumbled myself into a wilted flower.

Maybe my mother was right. Maybe love was dead. Maybe love was never alive. It was when I most resented it and suspected its very existence,  that love came my way. However, this time around, I came across two roads that diverged into the woods, and I— I took the one less travelled … and that made all the difference.

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One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master; though I remember how hard it was to lose a few kilograms. I remember struggling to lose the hunger. And I did. I lost some weight and I lost the hunger because the art of losing isn’t hard to master, yet the desire of losing is like a hydra, the more heads you chop off, the more heads it regrows. I became addicted to the loss; one loss achieved makes way for another. I lost fats, but then I wanted to lose my skin, lose my hair. I wanted to lose every feature of my face until I lost myself and then, like a phoenix, rise from my own ashes. I wanted to be made anew. But the art of losing is hard to master.  

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

I live in a dark and lonely wood. The trees help me breathe not because they release oxygen, but because they are turned into books. I breathe the words in, and breathe the pain out. Sometimes, I like to be a tree. I break my own branches and tear my own roots, to breathe the pain in and breathe the words out. Then, I am reminded of reality: some family obligations, university, an uneventful life, and every other excuse I find not to write. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, (do I?) and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. “There is no time for being a tree”, I tell myself. The pain is there but the words are not. Outside of my woods, I feel like an outcast. I breathe in reality and breathe out broken dreams.