The eighth tale in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women is “Rites of Passage” by Gabriela Lee. The story may be fictional, but the tale she tells is true in a deeper level. It’s a story every woman can feel stirring at the bottom of her heart. It is in our blood.
And blood is what Lee gives us, but not for gore and hack-n-slash sensationalism. Gabriela Lee mines the feminine experience to find the significance of bleeding for a woman. It heralds change. It represents what we must sacrifice. Like ourselves, if we give just enough we bring forth life. Like blood, when we give too much we die.
“Rites of Passage” haunts with the primal fears of being a woman. In many ways Lee tells the metaphorical story of motherhood. Having a baby robs us of our independence but a mother will kill to keep her child safe. Lee brings out the duality of maternal instinct by giving us a narrative full of conflicted emotion. Lush storytelling builds distinct worlds and characters we can connect with, even if the connection is brief.
Everyone knows to never come between a mother and her cub, so who is at fault when blood is spilled?
“Rites of Passage” by Gabriela Lee is the eighth story in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. Gabriela Lee graduated with a Master of Arts in Literary Studies from the National University of Singapore, and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Studies, majoring in Creative Writing, from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She won the PBBY-Salanga Prize in 2019 for her story “A Delicate Strength,” which is about her grandmother; it’s currently available as Cely’s Crocodile: The Art and Story of Araceli Limcaco Dans, and published by Tahanan Books. She is currently an assistant professor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UP Diliman. She can be reached at her various social media accounts on http://about.me/gabrielalee and under the online name @sundialgirl.
Find out about the other stories
in Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (and more)
here under the #amreading tag.
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