The dinner table

We all sit around the dinner table.
Some placid, some temperamental, some simply lost in thought.

Pessimism smirks at me, ”I told you so”, he spits arrogantly from across the table, peering over at the vulnerable.
Anxiety fidgets at the edge of her seat as she agrees, ”I knew it, he’s always right”. Slowly she slips away into a trance of destructive overthinking and self blame.
Anger’s eyes pierce through me, his silence dangerous.
I sink into my seat as sadness continues to gnaw away at me.
Hope gently places her warm, wrinkled hand on mine as she leans in beside me, ”You did your best beloved”.
Anger and Pessimism erupt into laughter, Anxiety frantically shakes her head ”No you didn’t!”.
Love stares blankly at the plate in front of her, reminiscing on the endless endearments she whispered and fond kisses she gifted generously. She turns to give me a faint smile to reassure me.
Depression quietly picks at her plate, slouched in her chair at the end of the table. Terrified at the sight of her I turn away.

That’s enough for tonight.
I blow out the candle and call it a night.

– S.Alaa

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Oppressive Gentleman

How sweet of him to tell me what I can and cannot wear.

How sweet of him to pull down my top when other men stare.

“It’s only because I know what they’re thinking, you know it’s ‘cause I care”.

How sweet of him to blame me despite covered head to toe.

How sweet of him to punish me for any inch of flesh I’ve shown.

How sweet of him to teach me, it’s not oppression, it’s just respect I must show.

How sweet of him to blame these curves that baggy t-shirts cannot conceal.

I am so grateful for this self-loathing he makes me feel.

I hope one day my mother’s love will help me heal. – S. Alaa