• rebekahannegena

Shackle

Updated: Aug 22

He sits across the breakfast table from me as though he is innocent. As though he would have me believe he is a lamb.

He seems to imagine that I am unaware, or perhaps I have forgotten that my foremothers were forced to be fighters. They were forced to hold their tongues in drawing rooms, wear their uniform aprons, keep their hair tied up in a regulation bun, stand steadfastly at their posts (at sinks and stoves), march silently down the halls in the night to comfort babies, and routinely care for the wounded, without compensation or appreciation.

Does he believe, as he tears off a piece of the toast that I made him, and dips it into the eggs that I fried, that I have forgotten that we were shackled? And that it was the male of our species who danced, unwillingly, with us across the ballroom of women’s rights throughout history.

Really? Can all of this just be forgotten? Is that what he hopes has already occurred? Is he hoping for my forgiveness?

He seems so at ease as he stirs the coffee that I ground with my tired hands!

And as he glances at me and notices my curled lip and disgusted face, his smile drops, and he asks, “Is everything okay?”

My mind lashes out across the length of the table, grabs him by his shoulders, and screams into his face, “Your kind left us out as they envisioned a government for the American Colonies, stood in the way, for a time, of our voting. They dictated our education and frequently prevented it altogether. They enslaved us, sold our children, refused to let us hold office, and denied us birth control. They barred us from Congress, courts and colleges. They discriminated against us, ignored our pleas, owned, bought, sold, and traded us like cattle. But in the end, you couldn’t contain us. We crawled out of your kitchens, beds, and prisons because we were fighters, not because you were willing!”

And then, like many of our foremothers, I retract the ghost of my wrath, put on a pleasant face, and reply, “I guess I’m just deep in thought. How is your bacon?”

And before he can even respond, I calculate the caloric content, saturated fat, and sodium content of said bacon, and muse upon the fact that I am legally allowed to poison this man as long as I use this government-sanctioned method and a mere thimbleful of patience.

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