When they cut the umbilical cord; it just became invisible. You would hold my hand when skipping through the park to the swings. I ate only what you gave; cut up apples, triangle toast with marmite, lollies on a birthday. You would read me stories of goblins and talking animals. You’d sing me to sleep and plant wet kisses on my small forehead. I was safe. You made sure I was.
Calling your name at the top of my lungs. I knew within 30 seconds you would be there. Now I wait listening to the ringing. You’re not home on a Saturday night? And I am sitting next to my freshly baked brownie in a cup. Alone. My friend said to me “I want to live with my parents in a cave.” And I get that. The world can be scary and you were the first face I saw without the lines blurred. You voice was the first noise to my ears. You dropped a pan and it was the first sound to make me jump inside your belly.
You kept me alive when I was weak and helpless. Not fully formed. And now I am meant to be fully formed; complete and succeeding. But sometimes that cave sounds mighty good because sometimes people are fucking mean and sometimes the wind feels like knives on my skin. Can’t I just stay home with you mum? Watching a movie and eating ice blocks with you? Like we did when I was home sick from school.
If you were a colour you would be cream. Like the colour of your skin, like the walls you painted, like the biscuits you baked. Like how I feel when I sit next to you on the couch; calm and simple. It’s simple to be me. And your words are still the most powerful to my ears. Even if I try to ignore half of what is said. Annoyingly you are almost always not wrong.
I have to cut up my own apples now and I don’t have time to make my toast into triangles. And as I get older, you do too. Closer to a time when I won’t have you here. I don’t know how I’m meant to handle that. Knowing you won’t always be here doesn’t make me anymore patient with you. When you stick your nose into things you know nothing about and you say those helpful comments like- “Oh Elena, do you really need that extra piece of cake?”.
But when they cut the umbilical cord it just become invisible. I keep a box of letters and cards all signed “Mum xoxo”. I know even in the night when the birds are still and silent, I could call you. You would answer in a sleepy well meaning voice and always end the call with “I love you Lenie”.
Maybe I am seeing you through rose coloured glasses. But I haven’t made a human and equipped it for the world. You have. Not perfectly. You made and make me cry. Sometimes I walk away with disappointment in my stomach. That’s what happens right? The people we are closest to hurt us the most. I’m not 5 anymore. I don’t expect you to be perfect anymore.
I love you Mum. One day I hope you can hold my child in your arms and after you’ve planted a wet kiss on their small forehead, you’ll plant one on mine.