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Adina Samuels

Writer, editor, and podcast host with production, storytelling, and community-building experience.

  • Writer's pictureAdina Samuels

A Nose and a Girl; A Girl's Nose

Updated: Oct 11, 2018

Inhale, exhale.

"Mom? Hi. I have something to tell you. But don't panic. I'm fine, and I'm safe. I just need to tell you this."

I cringe, knowing what I'm about to inflict on my own mother.

"Adina? What is going on? Are you okay? Just tell me!"

"Yes, Mom. I'm just feeling guilty. I need to tell you this. I.. I.. Yesterday, I... Mom, I'll tell you but I need you to listen to me before you say anything. Please, just-"

"Adina! What is it? Tell me."

"I.. I got my nose pierced yesterday."

Silence on the other end. I rush in with explanations and apologies and hear my voice coming out thick and as I walk into the grocery store to buy Vodka for a birthday celebration that night, I realize I'm not the little girl my mom thought I was.

"Mom, I'm sorry. I've been feeling sick with guilt this whole time. I will take it out if you want me to. I feel terrible. I should have just told you. I don't know why I didn't and I want-"


6 000 miles and the pain in her voice carries power enough to bring me to tears.

"I just need to know. Was it sterile?"

I gasp with relief. "Yes, Mom. Of course it was. I checked everything before I.. Mom?"

I hear a dialing tone and realize the line has been dead for some time.

I don't have to be at home to know what is happening. As I furiously try to reconnect to the network and hit redial, I see my mom calling my dad and my uncle and imagining me being poked with a dirty needle in a market stall by a drug addict with tattoos up his arms.

"Mom? Mom! It was clean! It was sterile. Of course it was. Are.. are you okay?"

* * * * * * * * * *

The tram speeds towards me, honking its horn and blaring its lights and I know I have seconds before it reaches me.

We furiously search by the light of a 2 a.m. moon, looking for a sparkle in the tracks of the train that is coming closer with every passing second. All we see is dust.

The tram waits for none and it's the last one running. I jump on, leaving the piercing and the reinvented Me behind at the stop. Now all I feel is stunned. There's a dull ache on my right nostril with nothing to show for it.

Inhale, exhale.

The pain shoots through my nose and settles in my beating heart, pummeled by the night's events.

As I sink into the cushioned seat of the fast train I take no comfort in recounting the horror of what just was. I replay my euphoric night ending in tragedy and all I see is a long lock of hair wrapping around a small piece of titanium and with its gentle embrace, pulling out my newest embellishment. A goodbye hug I'll never forget.

A young Jewish girl celebrating the graceful aging of a young Jewish state left with a little less sparkle now.

* * * * * * * * * *

The conversation began in a shopping mall.

"Hey, Mom, what do you think about nose rings?"

Mom looked at me with a sideways horror, a look I would come to recognize and get used to. Her eyes pleaded with mine which stared blankly back at hers, glazing over her and seeing only the salon window behind her.

I play with my goyishe nose and imagine a miniscule diamond poking out of one side. Would it be harder to breathe? How do you sneeze with it in?

I imagined what my breathing would feel like.

Inhale, exhale.

"Adina, please. I'm asking you. Don't get a nose ring."

My inexperienced eyes lost their sparkle of what could be when I realized she meant it.

* * * * * * * * * *

I face the mirror as I make the call. I see the same old Me looking back, with rings under her eyes from a late night and a nose left without a scar and without a sparkle and everything is dulled. I know I'll laugh at this one day but now all I feel is without.

"Mom, you'll never believe what happened last night..."

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