The Joy of Peeling

Saide Mirzaei

Saeide Mirzaei

Mother would peel the boiled potatoes, and I would perch myself on the stool, absorbed in the grace with which the skin, reluctantly but smoothly, came off, letting off steam as it lamented the imposed estrangement from the flesh. The yellowish flesh, however, looked satisfied with its nudity. It shone in its newly-won freedom, smiling or even giggling in its cracks, while the scraps of peeled-off skin took no more than a few minutes to shrivel up into rolls of brown misery. A sad sight to see. But not sad enough to kill the sadistic joy one could take in stripping off the hot potatoes, leaving them vulnerable to the sharp teeth of the grater. Of equal pleasure was removing one’s dead skin after the underneath tissues had healed from a wound, rendering the top, damaged skin redundant and hence destined to go. The pure joy of severing the loose tie between the dead and the alive, the stale and the fresh, the dried and the juicy, the unwanted and the desired, the veil and the veiled, the confining and the constrained. Years later, when I became a woman, I stopped taking pleasure in peeling. I realized that not all skins were so easy to shed, and not all veils were so smoothly lifted, and not all constraints were there to be removed.


  1. This piece is beautiful in its simplicity. I really enjoy the way you portray the changes between childhood and adulthood through this metaphor.

  2. Gorgeous!

  3. Love how this piece builds.


  1. 2014 Best of the Net Nominations - Spry - […] The Joy of Peeling […]

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