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Just A Little Thing
A Haibun about boundaries
CW: Powerlessness, sexism.
His hand is sweaty in hers, already, only four people down the line. His breath is hot and slightly sour as he leans toward her. She leans away. His grasp tightens and he pulls her forward. Stubble against her cheek, his lips are slightly moist as he places a kiss there. Just as quickly as it happens, he moves down the line of all the others taking vows with her today. A handshake to each man. A handshake and a kiss on the cheek to each woman (whether they want it or not. Even when they communicate not.) The ceremony is meant to be one of jubilance, soured for her now, by the presumption of a man. A little thing. One of many. She recites the vow. One of many. She is given a dharma name. One of many. She keeps thinking, again, again, again, the words she did not say, “No. This is my face. You don’t get to kiss my face.” The ceremony concludes. She smiles, and she is no longer present.
Incense fills the room,
Deity above the shrine,
Just a little thing.
This piece came out of a brilliant workshop I took with multi-genre writer Anastacia Reneé called “No, Writing and the Art of Refusal.” Visit her website to learn more about the classes she offers. She also has a large body of work worth reading.
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