Maha is a Writing Club project/character. Learn a little bit about her here.


I’ve always been good at making things disappear.

Take my childhood, for instance. It lasted a good four years, and then: poof. Gone without a trace. No one even remembers it. My mother likes to joke that I was born an adult – and that’s funny to her because she doesn’t know why. But I do. And that was all my fault – despite what my therapist says. I know it in my heart of hearts.

But that’s a story for another day.

Today another thought consumes me. For months I have been eaten alive by it. My daughter distracts me and my love for her distracts me and her little hands distract me and her smile distracts me.

But it is only a split-second distraction before I am back to it again. Before my mind is engulfed in this singular thought again:

How do I tell the people I love that I so often fantasize about dying?

That I am constantly trying to find ways to escape myself without hurting them in the process?

Is it possible, I’ve wondered, to take my own life without causing a ripple effect? To steal it out from under their hands without them noticing?

How do I vanish?

My mind conjures up easy solutions: “Swallow a few bottles of pills. Jump off your house roof. Find a ceiling to hang a fucking rope from. A knife and your wrist. Do something! Go! Easy!”

But I am still here. Teaching my daughter long division and smiling at my husband. He mumbles something about how long his day was. Something about how incompetent Ahmad from work is. I try to soothe him. I try to show him I relate: ‘Mona from work is an idiot, too!’, but I don’t. I don’t relate to him the same way he can’t relate to me. The same way he can’t relate to this.

My thoughts of dying. All the time. Every single day.

What would they think of me? My beautiful family.

My daughter hands me a picture she drew at school. It’s her and I, holding hands. I smile.

But I don’t want to be here. Flesh and blood. Breathing. Alive. I want to go.

She says she told her friends I was the best mom in the world today. Even had a fight with Sara who seemed to disagree. My heart melts as I hold her.

But I don’t want to be here. I want to go.

My husband kisses my forehead and reminds me of the reservation we have tonight. I remember it’s my birthday. The big four-oh.

But how do I vanish? How do I go? How can I stop existing? How do I do it without killing them with me? Without scarring them? I want to die at my own hands – today, this second, yesterday -, but how without guaranteeing both of them a lifetime of sadness?

How do I vanish?

I’ve always been good at making things disappear.

Even that second pregnancy. One day there, the other: gone. Five months in the making. Then blood. Poof.

Tonight, I’ll try the same trick with myself.