IBNAT by NOOKS KRANNIE

The pink floor lamp was flickering behind my ear, the dirt was making terrains for summer ants on the plastic strips that we got from Ikea to cover the life-size window behind your couch, also from Ikea. There were stains of old, dried acrylics visible on various parts of your beat up couch from the time I had decided to be an artist. Of the 100 emails I sent out with links to my online portfolio, I got 5 replies back with one line rejections that politely hid their confusion about the whiteness of my name. I had sent them photos of paintings that depicted faceless children without hair, covered in yellow hijabs. My artist statement spoke of losing identity, not having an identity, being Arab and not knowing what I was meant to do with that. The ambiguity of my face scared me and yellow was the only color that seemed worth saving because sunflowers and sun both bled in the same hue. I offered them my confusion and they offered theirs in return. My name was too white, given to me by white social workers when I was 2 years old in a remote orphanage somewhere in Vancouver. Till then I was called baby ‘Ibnat’. I told them my white name was not me and I was Ibnat of someone. I stayed up nights, bidding on cheap Canon dslrs in China on ebay.ca and after losing all the bids, I bought someone’s dead brother’s Nikon dslr on kijiji.ca. I went to pick it up in Center Eaton in the food court and gave the not-dead-brother too much money for a dead guy’s dslr, he told me to be careful. It sounded like a threat but my name was too white for it to be a threat and I thanked him for selling me his dead brother’s dslr. He said he had more of his dead brother’s stuff if I was interested. I said no and he said I can call him Steven. I asked him if selling his dead brother’s stuff was his way of dealing and he said he doesn’t deal because there’s no way to win and death is just a sober way of saying dying. I waited till it was 8pm because natural light made the yellows too blue and skin too red. I lined up all the faceless children in random order and hung them up one by one on the uneven bedroom wall where you had put a nail in earlier for me. I took unprofessional photos of my ‘art’ and imported them in Photoshop to burn dark umber into their skin so the children could scream without the burden of moving lips. I sent more emails and got more rejections. My name was too white and it was not me. Ibnat al (?) I asked you if it mattered to you the stains on your Ikea couch and you told me it was alright, the faces didn’t bother you, the hijabs did. And I thought of telling you that I knew your ex girlfriend used to cum on your couch and her stains were covered by my titanium white but I didn’t.

 


Nooks Krannie is a Palestinian/Persian female writer from Canada. Her work has appeared in Entropy, Eunoia Review, Alien Mouth, The Airgonaut, Fluland and other online and print journals. She tumbls at http://nkrannie.tumblr.com/ and instagrams @nookskrannie.
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