Borrowing from French: bête noire (literally “black beast”). When I tread on the age-old cement running down the mountains; my mind brings up stern warnings left on the trembles of my mother’s lips. “Do not trust strangers,” looking for the affirmation in my gaze, nods done over and over — I understood, I understand, etcetera. “Do not follow anyone you don’t know,” like reading off an old book, proverbs told time after time from her mother, and then the mothers before her, “only trust your family.” Yet in those brokenly repeated words, I felt the fear clinging onto the teeth marks left on the edges of her lips. So was a mother’s bible, written to protect and nurture, from the very own birthplace she raised you in.