It was one of the rare occasions that we had family dinner in our dim-lighted living room. My mother, my father, and I were sitting around the table without speaking. I was the one to break the uncomfortable silence. I fixed my eyes on my mother and said:

—Did you know that tigers could feel the heartbeats of their prey while they are tearing out their throats?

I tried to mask my emotion, to make it sound like impersonal information. Considering the vicious child I was, they could see right through me. My mother didn’t say a word. She gazed at my father, asking for help. I found it amazing the way they could read my inner intentions— intentions that even I am not aware of. My father looked at me. I could see the disdain deep in his eyes. I couldn’t look at him. I stared at my plate, cutting a large slice of the steak. I murmured:

—I thought it was interesting information.

My father with his voice cold as razors told me to leave the table.  I didn’t say a word, and dropped the knife on the plate. I gazed at my mother once again, and left the table. While I was walking towards my room I smelled iron in the hallway: the smell of iron deficiency medication, smell of blood, smell of keys to my room.

My room had mirrors instead of windows. My mother loved to decorate. She decorated my room. She said that I didn’t care about the environment I lived in. That was her excuse to take over my room. She said the view from my room wasn’t worth seeing, but if we put mirrors in front of the windows my room would look more spacious then it is. I didn’t answer. I knew she would do it anyways. I am trying to remember every detail about that moment. Her face looked so tender. I wanted to dive into the lines on her face. I wanted to disappear there. Now I am sitting on my bed and looking in the mirror, trying to find similarities between my face and my mother’s. Everyone says we look exactly the same. I wonder why can’t I see it too.

 

I must have fallen asleep. My skin was itching. I guess that was what woke me up. I had the strangest dream. I was looking in a mirror, touching my face. I felt how dry my skin was. It disturbed me. I started carving into my skin with my fingernails. I wanted to take my skin off, because it was choking me. Who am I? I started pulling my skin off with my nails. I felt pure excitement. With every piece of skin I took off I could breathe more easily. But what was underneath? I can’t remember. Every muscle in my body began to contract. I felt incredible pain. My bones were breaking. I fell to the floor, in pain. I can’t remember the rest of the dream.

My body aches. Did I fall off my bed? I feel like I don’t know how to move anymore. I can hear footsteps approaching. Maybe I screamed in my sleep. It must be my mother. Maybe I woke her up. She tries to open the door, but the door is locked. You have the same iron keys I have, mother, unlock the door. She enters the room. How scared she is. It was just a nightmare, mother, it’s over now.

Everything I say turns into a hissing sound. I wonder if she can hear me. She touches my head with her soft hand. I want to embrace her. Now I am climbing up her legs. I am looking directly into her eyes. I am making loops around her chest. I love you, mother, I want to feel you more. I can feel her breathing. With every breath she takes I’m tightening my embrace. She is too weak to stand now. We are falling to the floor together. These are her last breaths. You should see us, mother, before you go. Her eyes are open. I let her loose slowly. I open my mouth. I want to devour her. I start from her head. Her beautiful face is in my mouth. Her shoulders are hurting me. I can feel the breasts that fed me. Now I am at the c-section mark, which she loved so much. I can see us in the mirror. My skin is shining under the dim light. I can see my mother’s figure inside me. We are one now.

Etna Ozbek is from Istanbul, Turkey. She is a Film major at SVA.