Dear Mother by C. Wait
February 6, 2014 Comments Off on Dear Mother by C. Wait
A mother stands outside of a police precinct. She is short and slim with white hair and cheeks smeared with blush a shade too dark. She stares at the precinct from the sidewalk, all stained with grey city dust and ash. Her lips crease in the corners. She stands with the sun shining down through the clouds, biting into the worn brown purse that dangles off her shoulder.
I want to give to you this photograph of us one winter. Do you remember when it was taken? It was a bad season and the roads were so thick with snow that we had to walk to school and back each day. Do you remember, Mother?
A young female officer who takes the mother by the hand and guides her up the steps. The officer’s hair is a chestnut brown and she keeps tied back in a tight bun. The mother smiles.
“You look so much like my daughter, miss.”
The officer smiles back. She keeps a firm grip on the mother’s arm and pats her hand.
It’s funny I am writing this to you now when I should’ve written it to you so many years before. I know it would irritate you to hear this, but Mother, life is so strange sometimes. I wonder if it will be so strange in death.
The mother is deposited at a wood desk with numerous holes and scratches. The chair has a thick film of orange padding. Her feet do not reach the floor; they dangle several inches above the ground. The chair squeaks with her weight and she looks around.
Her hands are wrinkled with juice stains, spilled lunches, outfits that needed mending. Her eyelids are heavy with years of saying goodbye before school and singing into dreams at night.
I want you to know there was nothing you could’ve done.
There is a holding cell in the room where she sits. It holds two men with long, oily hair. They look like brothers almost with their thin noses and peaked hairlines. She smiles at them and they smile back.
A detective sits down across the desk from her.
The mother smoothes her flowered dress. She is wearing brown loafers that aren’t the same exact shade, but she has had them for years.
“What is it, Detective? Is my baby in trouble?”
Do you miss home like I do? Sometimes in the city it’s hard to remember the country winters. It’s hard to remember how good it feels to be full or how nice it was to walk to the grocery store with you next to me.
I hope you bury me next to Father. And when you come to visit, I hope you know that we are together, holding hands, spring flowers bursting from our chests.
© 2013 C. Wait
C. Wait is a native Vermonter who lives in New Jersey but frequently haunts other states.