A girl tries desperately to understand why her mother has become distant
|Everything became unusually silent; I waited for her to pass, but felt or heard no movements. I grew stiff, afraid and suddenly everything felt still. Slowly I moved my heavy legs to the door and cracked the door. She stood by the light, wanting to blow, but it was as though she was lost in her thoughts. She stood stiff with a slight pose, bending her head towards the heat. I watched with anticipation for her to jerk, but she just stood and then the tear rolled down her cheek and onto the flame, it crackled, but was still alive, then went another and darkness engulfed us before I could exhale.
She frightened me, for I have never seen her cry. I slowly retreated to the bed, sinking with my load of thoughts and questions. I searched for the sheets with my feet in the dark, as security to bury my head and hide from everything. The family beyond my wall had just finish dinner. I could hear them scraping food from the plates into the stomach of meagre dogs. The voices sounded monotonous tonight that I found no enjoyment from hearing them. I just wanted to close my eyes and leave what I saw behind tonight.
When I woke the following morning, the room felt cool. This was a contrast to the typical warm summer mornings. I felt the silky caress of the curtains against my cheek. A ray of sunlight moved past me and settled on the burnt out candle on my night table.
Voices grew louder on the other side. The raspy voice of the seldom seen father rose significantly above the mother’s until her voice became a tiny, desperate whisper without much strength to go on. I removed the navy blue uniform from its hanger and laid it on the bed. I smoothed the fabric, traced the A-line with my eyes, the white shirt scrubbed clean by her slender arms, and the neatly embroidered crest bearing the motto ‘I can, I will’, the words were clear and the meaning was clearer, but the required action was the foggy part in my mind.
Showering had always been the best part of my morning, stepping out into the cold and feeling the light fresh air against my skin. Nature communicating and the peace I felt when I was truly alone. There was no need to pretend out here, or the pity I forced myself to feel when I saw my mother. The way she enjoyed the dark and sighed constantly, how she never shares her thoughts or how strange her voice sounded when she finally decides to speak. I sat in the metal bath and ran the cool water lightly over my skin. I did this until I heard the sounds of pots and dishes, her way of announcing breakfast.
We sat and ate in the silence until one of us had the courage to move. We would head out in the same silence, turning to our own directions, departing with the mumbled “goodbyes”. There was always this strange urge to turn back and hug my mother, to wrap my arms around her slender waist and feel how silky and warm her skin felt beneath the fabrics, for her to respond with a smile and tickle my sides to let go, to hear how her laugh sounded, for it has been years. I wanted my mother’s love.