“I named her Fatima, because I love that name”
He said, with an unusual half smile, a bit embarrassed, wishing he hadn’t added the second part of that statement. Extending his hand towards me, to show me a photo of his one year old daughter on his phone.
I looked at the badly taken picture, big dark baby eyes, full wet lips, sitting next to her slightly older brother.
“My son isn’t so attractive, he takes after his mother” he lets out an unhappy, mocking laugh, again embarrassed, wishing he knew when to shut up.
“She’s beautiful, they both are” handing him back his phone.
I was still with him, he never stopped carrying me, despite the nasty breakup, despite the many years, his marriage, his firstborn. He couldn’t choose me, but he couldn’t leave me either. I was too stubborn, I wouldn’t yield, I didn’t satisfy his male inflated ego, I wouldn’t play the role of the meek, docile female.
To conquer me, to fully own me, he had to create me again. I thought about how he planted me inside his wife’s womb, his poor clueless wife, carrying me, all those tiresome months, the weight of me, the morning sickness. I grew inside her, leeching off her energy, and blood. I expanded as an idea in his mind, he couldn’t wait to hold me again, small, helpless and utterly reliant on him. He knew how he would shape me, once I was handed back to him. This time not defiant or rebellious, but a supple ball of dough, a clean slate, manageable and obedient.
She must be nine years old now. He calls her name every day, tells her to fetch his newspaper, or pass him the salt while they all sat for dinner, drives her to school, asks with a false cheerfulness “So, how was school today?” as she murmurs a bored “fine”. Too big to be carried up to her bed, after she had fallen asleep on the sofa, watching TV in the living room.
She’s not an idea anymore, not a seed, not an expectation, not rewritable CD. Not his, not belonging to him, merely a piece of flesh that had come forth from him, but not his, not the vessel in which he pours all his preconceptions and his female ideals.
And soon, very soon, she will look him straight in the eye and say No. It will break his heart, and he will understand.