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20

By Nabiha Aijaz


I never knew that turning 20 would feel like abandonment,

Turning 20 means you belong nowhere

A homelessness in me grows and grows till I yearn to be abandoned.

The number 20 carries anxiety, an unsettling feeling, like a shirt buttoned wrongly. I remain as I am, hollow and loathing and jittering,

Turning 20 means being seen and heard and looked at too sharply, too disgustingly, too hauntingly.





What happens to a child when you lock her in for 19 years and throw her out when she turns 20?

I use the phrase "I am afraid" like it is my name, like I was born with it, like an identity,

I am afraid, I am afraid, I am afraid,

I have fears and anxieties brawling a war inside my belly,

It rises and rises and rises till I am nauseas and breathless and helpless, I vomit out again saying "I am afraid"

20 is the age when you are now youth but your heart dies.

What do you do when you are too afraid to be?

To be 20?



By Nabiha Aijaz




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