More than a Mother

This time she answered. I think I make her cry. She says she cries a little everyday, that she is not used to being alone. I married when I was 21, you know, she said. And that she takes sleeping tablets to help her to sleep. My heart aches for her, I want to be of comfort but can say nothing. What is there to say? She tells me to come out there. Yes, I will. I want to. And then my mind starts to race with ideas – who I want to see, where I want to go, what places to investigate and explore. Her grave and then hers, and find out where her was school and his shop. I both long to go and dread it. Leaving him is always a wrench, as is the leaving of my home and relative safety and my language. She doesn’t know me, not now, perhaps then, but she kept me steady, looked out for me, cared enough to get close. She doesn’t know me either, but I like her, feel tenderly towards her, as I do her. It is enough, isn’t it?

She was almost garrulous. I like to hear her like that. I’m being lazy today, she said, still in bed at beyond 9. We talked of her cat and the kittens just recently given away to good homes. And how the cat is frightened of the chickens and the dog of the cat and how the dog wants to befriend the rooster but the rooster, having grown cantankerous won’t have it. All is topsy-turvy. She laughs and I laugh. It enfolds her, that life. And soon her precious daughter must return to work fearful of what she will bring home with her.

The rain pours outside. The wind was fierce and continues strong. He is not going out. I am to clean my studio from top to bottom then bake scones and shortbread. Still a little tired. I thought of that little girl. I want to eclipse the darkness with light but cannot. Those poor parents. I stand beside you in your grief.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.