They say study hard and you’ll have a good life,
You’ll be successful and have a good wife.
They say stay at school and don’t have fun,
You’ll get a nice car and know how to run.
They say don’t cry and let it out
Just keep it in and go workout.
But what they don’t know is that I want to break free,
I want to laugh and sit under an oak tree
With my friends by my side as I break down
And let the mascara make me a clown.
I want to worry about the little things
As I consider them important and they give me wings.
I want to fly as high as I can, but mom and dad, don’t worry
I won’t go too far and I’ll be back in a hurry.
She tries to carry herself strong in front of others but deep down she’s broken,
She smiles the brightest but there isn’t a single light in her, not even the slightest,
She’s changed from her outspoken self to now being soft-spoken,
And at this point, her life just passes in a blur.
She used to be the happiest person, even on the inside,
She used to feel the love from those she truly did love,
But, now she feels that she has no one by her side,
She doesn’t know if she can even rise above.
She believed that finally, she had a sense of belonging,
That for the ones she loved, she would do anything,
But now, she finds herself eternally falling,
From her flower field, she’s been picked from her stem.
She thought that at the end of the day, they’ll be with her forever,
She thought that she found those who truly cared for her,
She thought no matter what, they would always be with her,
But she thought wrong.
She finally knew what people mean when they say you shouldn’t let your walls down,
She finally understood why she was so reserved in the first place,
It’s because there is no certainty on how long anyone will stay around,
So now, once again, she needs to put on that rusty mask she never thought she'd use again: her second face.
What must it be like, to be you, mother?
Do you ever think of yourself? Do you ever consider being selfish, greedy, self-centered, to be the one who takes and not the one who gives, the first one at the dinner table and not the last, every Ramadan you listen to the kitchen table food critics, demands, a blur of mental notes you made but never once a complaint, but mother, I want to hear you complain.
Every Ramadhan you always kept your fast right at the end “there are 5 minutes left” I yell, upset that you couldn’t keep an eye on the clock or upset that you always put yourself last or upset that I was the only one who noticed.
Oh, what must it be like to be the fruit picker, to be the giver, but never intending on biting into the flesh?
What about home? Do you miss home? You miss home. You speak of your family, your sister, you tell us you see them in your dreams, you catch up with them but over the years you have become an outsider, a guest, we tell you. You protest.
The only time you show ‘want’ and ‘need’ is when you want to go overseas, to your motherland, to kiss your fathers’ hands, to discuss your mother’s death, a million times again, out of fear that you might forget. Her.
We remember that morning, 6 o clock, a call from 1,000 miles away broke your heart, it cut it open never to be stitched back up again. “Mother has passed away,” your brother said, and you were never quite the same after. You became fragile, so helpless, so in pain, every part of your body grieving, your fingertips mourning, having lost the chance to touch her face, kiss her hands, goodbye.
You picked up your bags to pursue your husband’s dreams and left half your joy at the border if you’d have known how much you were giving up, would you have stayed?