Maribel and the Feet that Itched | Daniella De Jesús

Maribel used to be a disco dancer, studio 54-ing it up on a Monday night. Today she stirs a Donna Summer song into a boiling pot on the stove. And a heart breaks every day she doesn’t dance. The swirling sweet potatoes remind her of herself. She imagines for a minute what her life could’ve been, if it weren’t for that man. But Maribel stops herself, “No no no. I love my son,” she says. A fuscia sequin shift dress still hangs inside her closet. But she won’t try it on, afraid that it won’t slide over her mami belly and mami hips. She looks at herself in the mirror. She looks at herself in the soup. She looks at herself in the silverware. Wishing the silver saucer was a disco ball. Wishing the hand pulling at her dress was not that of her child asking when dinner would be ready but a handsome young man trying to buy her a drink. Her feet itch from the kitchen. Itch, Itch. The neighbors can hear it all the way outside. Itch, Itch. She used to scratch it by dancing with her son in the living room but that hurt too much, the itch just got more itchy. That tacky old carpet makes for such a poor dance floor. Chopping up the onions, she took the knife to each ankle, carved into them two little red bracelets, snapped off each foot like a doll part, and stirred them into the boiling pot.

Maybe there her feet could finally find a groove.


Daniella De Jesús is an actor, poet, devisor, and playwright from Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York. She is currently in her final year at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, earning her BFA in Drama. This Fall, she performed her original one-woman show “The Thief Cometh,” about the gentrification of Bushwick, at the 2014 United Solo Festival, and showcased the devised theatre piece, “ASSORTED CRACKERS: A Reverse Minstrel Show” at NYU. This piece was originally published on her blog.

Rachel Charlene Lewis

Rachel Charlene Lewis is a writer + social media editor, covering sex, identity, entertainment, and beauty. Her work has been published by Refinery29, Teen Vogue, SELF, Glamour, Autostraddle, and elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @RachelCharleneL.