My mom, and I were always there for each other. We had a bond that was stronger than any bond imaginable between a mother, and her child. Not only was she my mom, she was my very best friend. One time, to tell her just that, I had written her a poem, that I now know by heart. She loved it so much, that she got it mounted onto a plaque, and hung it up on the kitchen wall so she could read it every day. It read:
Mom, You Are So Special
All of this time, all the love and the care
Have made me realize that you’ll always be there
For when I need you, or when I’m sad
You’re there right beside me, for that I am glad
Sometimes you forget, you’re more than a Mom to me
You’re a friend, a role model, and a hero you see
So this is a small token of my love for you
Saying things often unspoken you already knew
She told me everything. At times, more than I wanted to know; every truth, since I was so little, that others would argue I was too little to understand. She was teaching me the alphabet before I could sit up, and talking to me like I was an adult from the day I was born. She was completely honest with me. While some parents might think it best to keep their child from knowing something in an attempt to protect them, she would do the exact opposite; believing that in order to protect me, I needed to know the truth. I remember when my parents split up, she told me the truth, explaining:
“Dumplin, your father and I have to be apart now, he can’t live with us any more - but it’s for the best. You see, we don’t get along any more, and we’re much happier when we’re apart. He’s going to live with Nana and Grandpa now, and you’ll get to visit him every second weekend, okay?”
“Yes Mommy.” I answered, understanding completely. I knew exactly why things had turned out the way they had. Knowing not only why my parents were apart, but also that my father was completely, and utterly unreliable, for anything. That was why I was left sitting alone on that window seat, waiting for so long.
At least I was inside a warm house, although I still shiver at the reminder of that very sad, cold day when I was younger. I might have called Mom to tell her that he hadn’t shown up, but this time I wanted to deal with him by myself. Maybe I was the only one who could get through to him. My parents hardly spoke, and it was for that reason that Mom often made herself scarce before Dad came to pick me up.
“She’s all finished now” says the kind nurse in the pale pink uniform, guiding my mom towards me with a gentle hand. I snap out of the deep thought I was in, put my crocheting in my bag, and take my mother’s arm. She’s really weak now. Her body looks so feeble, and old - but she is not, she’s only fifty-six. I help her into the wheelchair, and push her down the hall. All of the halls here look the same; all a bland, strange pink colour. Not a nice pink, but rather a dismal shade that has you wondering if the whole building had to be one colour, why someone wouldn‘t have picked a nicer one.
This place is like a maze with all it’s seemingly endless corridors, that all look identical. If it weren’t for the beautiful art work which covers the walls of the last corridor we travel to get out of this place, we would be forever lost. I look up to study the paintings as we pass by, each time capturing just a little more of their detail. Light shines through the glass ceiling, and makes the paintings all seem even more brilliant, and warms my face. All of these things I would normally never pay any attention too while I would race on by. We continue walking, back to the door from which we came. I stop pushing the wheelchair, and walk around my mother, who’s body is droopy in it’s seat. Her clothes are all wrinkled, their fabric gathered, and folded because her body simply doesn’t fill them any more.
“Mom, I’m just going to get the car, I’ll be right back.” I said.
We’ve been coming here every day for the past two weeks, and I’ve run out of money to pay for parking. I don’t want to bother her about it, so I have her wait at the door while I park the car three blocks away where the parking is free. I don’t think she notices, and I find the jog refreshing - it seems to be the only time I have peace from the thoughts, and worries that consume me.
It‘s been a very long day. Beginning to run I clasp my bag, tightly pressing it’s bulgy contents against my side. I grow hotter, and hotter even though the breeze is blowing directly in my face. As I reach the car, a bead of sweat begins to gather just under my bangs ready to trickle down.
Into the car I get, and drive back to the door.
No one seems to be in a rush today. A lady walks across the road in front of me, a cigarette hanging from her mouth, as she searches inside her purse for something to light it with I assume.
She’s not even paying attention to the cars, or to crossing the road. What a gross habit, does she not realize what it will do to her?
I get to the entrance, stop the car, turn off the ignition, flick on my hazard lights, quickly get out of the car, and go through the revolving glass doors. Turning to look back outside, I see that already there are cars who have lined up behind me. They don’t seem to mind to wait, but I still feel rushed because I know how slow it will be t o get Mom into the car. As I walk with her, my arm supporting her, she wobbles a little, her ankle buckles over her white sneaker. Catching her, and straightening her up to regain her balance, she feels light, like the wind could blow her over.
I open the passenger side door, and protect her head, as I lower her carefully into the seat, and then run around the car, and hop in myself.
As I drive I avoid thinking of how mom is half the weight she used to be, and looks almost twice as old. I avoid thinking about how the car is silent. She doesn’t try to talk any more. My entire life she has always talked so much, often asking me so many questions that I would end up saying:
“Alright Mom, that’s enough, stop bugging me!”
I wish she would bug me now, or just say anything at all. In fact, I feel sorry for having thought, and having said that she was bugging me at all. I guess there are a lot of times that I now feel sorry for. Like when she used to come into my bedroom in the morning to say good morning, and tell me it’s time to get ready for school, and I would yell at her to “Leave me alone, I’ll get up in a few minutes.” She knew that a few minutes would turn into hours if she didn’t persist. I could be so grouchy in the morning when she woke me up, but I think now how my behaviour was inexcusable. I should have been nicer. She was only trying to help me, so I wouldn’t be late. It’s strangely disturbing how we can be meaner to the people we love, than to total strangers we’ve only just met.
We arrive at home, I walk her inside, and tuck her into bed. Her room has always looked the same for as long as I can remember, except now the furnitrure has all been rearranged to allow her to be closer to the bathroom.
“Do you need anything Mom?” I ask.
She shakes her head, rests it on her pillow, and closes her eyes.
“Good Bye. I love you.” I say quietly, and leave.
On the way home, I think of how much I hate that this time that I’m spending with my mom is so hazy, like I’m on auto-pilot, only doing what is required of me, and as though I can see myself going through the motions from afar. I’ve been thinking about all kinds of unimportant things, that don’t matter at all, when really I should be paying attention to what really matters - my mom. I try to think of how I can make the time we spend together more meaningful, and agree that I’ll try harder tomorrow. Exhausted, my head hits the pillow, and I sleep.
That was Chapter Two, of the story. I will post the next Chapter in a day, or two. All the Chapters will be available along the sidebar as I post them.
I would love some feedback, good or bad.
Thank you for reading along with the story.