She was in the room. I felt her in my mind and saw her with my heart. She was right over there, near and untouchable. Radiant but subdued; bright but in shadow.
She remained beautiful.
“What are you doing?” she asked quietly.
I was quiet. I knew the always-ready response I had used all throughout my childhood in response to this question which she had asked thousands of times.
“Staring at you” I finally said, like I was supposed to.
I felt her slightly smile. But there was also pity in her smile.
“I love staring at you, Mom, you know that. I’ll never stop.”
“I know; it’s okay. Thank you” she replied.
I didn’t recall her ever saying thank you during this conversation we frequently had.
I paused to stare again. What was I missing? She was there before me but something was off.
I started an inventory:
No shoes and her toe-nails which were not painted. That was odd, but not too odd I reminded myself.
She was wearing a white nightgown that was very soft, by the looks of it. I wanted to touch it; touch her.
Her hands were soft and they smelled of the original Jergen’s Cherry Almond lotion.
How did I know that I wondered?
“Stop thinking and just do inventory.” I told myself.
She wore no jewelry.
It didn’t seem like she had makeup on, but I couldn’t be certain.
Her lips were full. Was that lipstick?
Her eyes were hers; light brown, direct, challenging, loving.
I held her stare as best I could, then looked down to her nightgown.
The nightgown dipped from her neckline and the sleeves, while loose, only fell slightly below her elbow.
The nightgown wasn’t white; it was off-white I think. I stared at it; at her.
“Sweetie, what are you doing?” She asked again.
But neither her tone nor her volume changed.
“Nothing. I miss you.” I replied.
“I know you do.” she replied, and I could see her smile again. It wasn’t pity this time. It was honest.
“You always said you’d always think of me, didn’t you.” she asked.
“Yes, I did tell you that. I’ve never stopped, either. I think about you every day. Every single day.”
“You used to, but not anymore.” she said, calmly.
I felt confused. Then guilty. Then resolved.
“I’m sorry.” I offered earnestly.
“Please don’t.” she said sternly. You finally have a reason. She’s beautiful. I love her, too, and I watch her, just like you watch her. And liked you used to watch me.”
I felt relief. Absolution.
“It is as it should be. Besides, I’m always here, as you know.”
“I do know, Mom, but I still want to think about you every day and keep my promise.”
“Do you think about her every day?”
“Yes, I sure do.” I replied with a smile.
“And how often do you think of me now?” Mom said in her mom-voice that told me she knew the answer.
I thought for a moment. Every other day.
She smiled a big smile. I smiled her same smile back to her.
“Thank you, she said as she began to dim.
I felt warm liquid escape my eyes and slowly drift down either side of my face leaving a warm trail on the sides of my head.
I was waking up and didn’t want to.
I looked one more time and this time Mom was close to me, hand reaching out to my face where my tears were still languishing.
I smelled her hands as she gently touched my tears and carried them away while leaving her cherry almond aroma in their place.
© 2020 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.
poignant. beautiful. sad. Just well captured, as if I was watching this interaction.
First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts
out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10
to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out
how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Kudos!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi! Thank you for the comment and feedback. How do I center myself… that’s so hard to do, isn’t it? What has worked for me is placing myself on a schedule. I post a blog every Wednesday so I dedicate Friday & Saturday to begin forming ideas. And I’ll write a draft no later than Monday. Then tweak & finish on Tuesday. You’ll see on Wednesday/Thursday I do nothing writing related except probably tweeting . 🤣. It helps me to hold myself accountable. And even when I am book writing I stick to my blog schedule since it gives me a break from the rigors of boom/novel writing. Hope this helps!