Last night, mother came.
I saw my mother today. I wanted to tell you about her but you wouldn’t listen because you were angry at me. I had waited all day to tell you. All day. She came last night and just before you came home today.
She asked me to look at her, kept asking and without uttering a word begged me to see her. I saw her. I know you don’t believe me but she was here, right here in this very house. I saw her in the bathroom and I saw her in the kitchen. I could feel her smell and her nearness. I saw her lying in bed. I saw me too. I was only five, standing by the door, leaning against the wall, a bewildered child. The poor child did not look anything like me, but that was a long time ago.
Did I tell you that I saw her face too? Her body was curved by the edge of the bed clutching her stomach, her back arched so that her knees touched her stomach. The sculpture of pain as if in great grief.
It was her eyes that left me perplexed and greatly confused. There, in the depths of her tears, hid all the secrets of undisclosed wounds. Her eyes, spoke. They spoke louder than any word she could ever utter. Not once did she talk. Her eyes asked me to live her life just for the moment. They said she would show me the long journey she had travelled. I was afraid, like any child, watching her mother breakdown yet unsure if I was meant to see her vulnerable like that.
I wanted to tell you, how that felt but you were still angry.
She took me to the day she found out she was going to be a mother. The fear and rejection that she felt as a young 16-year-old. The anguish and despair of being all alone. She said without a word how she never chose me, but how she knew I had chosen her. How she had no idea what to do with me. She took me through my fathers’ rejection of us and eventually running away to marry a man who later became my father. A journey that left her broken.
You didn’t talk to me as we lay in bed. And when she visited that night and let me touch her bended bones, see her naked body, peer through her eyes, I wanted so bad to tell you that she was here. Right here!
I looked ahead of me and saw her clothes slowly falling to the ground, her back turned to me. She showed me her body and asked me to touch the bones on her back. That familiar hunch on her back that I never got to run my fingers through. She let me touch the scars through the arch on her back, her shoulders swelling and sinking just above her lower back. I was horrified. I saw her lower body thin and her legs became even thinner. She took me to the hospital bed where she lay for years as her bones bended and twisted not only her body but her soul. She showed me the faces of people who laughed at her new disfigured body and I even heard the voice of father say, “Rakwom ni” meaning the hunchback during their many fights that ensued. She says, that hurt her esteem and worth. She was never prepared for the loss of her frame. The doctors said the disease had already sapped dry the juice in her bones. She didn’t tell them her soul was burnt and dry. As dry as dust, ready to blow away with the slightest passing winds.
Are you still mad at me? Because I still want to tell you about my mother.
Just for a moment she wanted me to understand that she had crumbled and crushed. She didn’t know how to survive it, how to rebuild back her bones, how to mother us as a young mother. She wanted me to understand that she didn’t make it, make it enough to reclaim her broken pieces.
Just at that moment in time, I saw my young self engulfed in overwhelming love and pity, sympathy and understanding. I ran to her feet, put my hands around her, buried my head in her skirt and wept. Then I saw her birth me. A little sticky baby covered in silverish white muck falling from between her legs, and just like that I was born, my mother’s daughter.
Are you still mad at me?