I am the one who dreams.

I dream of the love that revels in the ordinary – in walks shared and kisses traded, in confrontations, in meals cooked, in corners of the body discovered as the Nocturnes carried us to sleep.

I am the one who fears.

I fear disease and sickness, and indifference. I fear I may become irrelevant, or that I will lose my money and my hair. I fear all my nightmares and the horrors of many realities.

I am the one who leaves.

I pack my life in two suitcases – one light blue and the other black. I take my clothes and notebooks, my earrings and scarves, the greeting cards and the letters, and things my mother stuffed in when I was not paying attention. We cry. But I am also far away, already observing the tears from a distance, knowing I will write about it someday. I leave often, I go from parent to guardian to keeper, occasionally wresting freedom and solitude. When I return, I bring with me the smells of different places and stories of cities where the rain fell differently. I carry inside me the speech of different people. Some I have loved, some have made me cry.

Top Three on the fiction|poetry grid this week – thank you for the votes!

Published in the October issue of Pendora magazine.


16 thoughts on “Self-portrait

  1. Let me share my instant reaction without checking for spelling, coherence or punctuation. I saw the title and knew instinctively that I would like the piece and find certain phrases that, true to your style, I would read, pause, re-read and marvel at the way in which an image was brought in front of my eyes* or how the line possessed a certain texture.** So fabulously written.

    * – “I pack my life in two suitcases – one light blue and the other black.”
    ** – “When I return, I bring with me the smells of different places and stories of cities where the rain fell differently”

    PS: Using * instead of brackets since the author of the post has banned me from using them :))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a beautiful read and I found myself understanding so many of the points raised.

    The only thing I might have considered changing is breaking up the final paragraph. It looks rather long compared to the rest of the piece. I would have started a new paragraph at “I leave often” and I think it would have read just as well. Only my preference though!

    Thanks for sharing. I also love the title.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Donna!

      I didn’t want to break up the paragraph about leaving…when I read it, I didn’t realise it would feel too long for the reader. Will pay more attention next time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can totally understand why you wouldn’t want to break it up. It messes up the whole repetition and layout, I know. I’m only one reader mind you so another may love it just as it is 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to disagree with the earlier comment about breaking up the last paragraph. For me, one of the strengths of this piece was the construction/layout. I think two paragraphs at the end would have broken that flow. And I really liked that. The first two “sections” made me think this was a perspective of a character and I wanted to know who and where this character was. And the last “section” transitioned into something with movement and growth. I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this! It’s relatable and easy to read. The only time thing I would say is that I’m not sure the reader needs to know what color your suitcases are. Unless there is a reason? Maybe to show you are ecclectic? Or? It was beautiful either way. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From this, I got the story of an expat. My favorite lines were the Nocturnes and the two differently colored suitcases. The first was an acknowledgement of other forces in play in a relationship. The second was first solid image coming off from a list of abstract ideas. It anchors the piece well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The straightforward tone and the “I am” statements fit well with the title. The last paragraph made me wonder about her age – why does she have to go from parent to guardian to keeper, and why is it so hard for her to get alone time on her travels? I wondered if it ties in with your second (gorgeous) paragraph about her fears.


    1. The alone time is supposed to refer to her situation in life. What I had in mind was this – in many cultures, women still get deposited from place to place.
      Thanks for reading. 🙂


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