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Self-portrait

“Monster,” says Malik, and points to a spot in the metal pole.

“That’s a snail,” I say. “It’s an insect, I guess. Their shell protects it, but if you step on it, it’s body will spread like goo. Quite disgusting, actually.”

“Monster,” he says again, his childish voice whimpering a little.

“Are you gonna cry? It’s not a monster, look!” I grab the creature and put it in front of his small face. “Look! It’s retreating into its shell. Do you want to touch it?”

“Stop bothering your brother, Hasan! You’re supposed to take care of him while I work. Ugh, you can’t do anything right!”

“Flower, flower,” says Malik, pointing at my chest.

I try to answer, but all of a sudden my mouth feels dry and unable to articulate any word. My body feels extremely heavy, my arms hang on the sides, and my head… It feels like I am being unplugged. Slowly. Pain? More like an unwanted hug, but no pain. Then, I see it. A flower… a flower? It’s emerging from my chest like, uh. Like, uh. Like a flower.

Now my brother is pointing at something behind me.

“See? Monster.”

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