I write about the blank spaces between relationships.

The Third Daughter


The third daughter is like a blunt knife, she tears more than she cuts,” thought Naji, looking away from the child’s face.

On the bed next to him lay his wife, Maryam in deep sleep after nineteen long and tedious hours of labor pains. He had expected a son for the last two labor pains had been like hot butter melting on warm toast, and both had been daughters.

“This child has to be a boy,” he remembered telling his wife the day before and now his words hung like icicles on a frosty morning. He didn’t care to notice the look on her face as she went into panic on hearing those words and then labor had made her forget everything else. Daughter or son, it didn’t matter as long as this terrible pain would just come to an end. She simply wanted it to be over.

The child, a mere four and a half pounds in weight purred incessantly as she came out of the birth canal, ripping it at a place or two. And then the thick, twisted purplish umbilical cord detached from the seed where it had been sown nine long months ago, the reddish brown placenta, which, maybe cats would eat up later on and now she slept peacefully. Things would eventually sort themselves out in the next few days and life would go back to being normal.

‘A third daughter,’ Naji smoked fiercely as he lay down beside his wife that night. The other two daughters were with their grandmother and the third one was here, on the bed next to him, huddled in a small blanket between the two parents.