Meditation by Sarosh Nandwani

my mother, a mediator, always introduces herself to her clients

second —after her male partner, who always says, “hello, I am
a lawyer” first, after which

the people being counseled think, “oh, he must be in
charge here,”

and my mother, who has endured countless men
commandeering her space

gracefully backs away.

my mother, a kind woman, tells her partner he is good at mediating

to which he replies, “you are so good too — I am so bad at being
organized,” and my mother’s heart says

“I am not your secretary,” but she takes the notes, makes the
calls, and organizes anyway even though

she was the lead on this client’s case and perhaps she
could have introduced herself first, and he

could back off.

my mother, a feminist, tells her boss the men must make more space for us

and her boss counters by telling her, “tell him you aren’t available and
he can do the calling and texting,”

and my mother considers this and agrees that yes, perhaps
she should make an excuse because

it would be audacious to imagine a man that could
take direct criticism for taking

up too much space.

my mother, responsible now for demanding space when her partner is unaware

he must make some for her, concedes and continues to hope her boss
will mention space at the next meeting, but of course

not directly, because you can tell a crowd to make space for
each other, but you cannot tell a man

he is taking up too much, and again the cause is
ignored in favor of

abating the symptoms.

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