Blood sacrifice. Or an indication of just how futile, sterile, and abortive this quest is going to be.
Either way, she sets out, blood pouring out of her. It’s the first day of her period.
Noon. Hot sun. Black clothes. She arrives wearing a protective scowl for some reason.
I guess I should try talking to you. It’s supposed to be therapeutic or something.
There are other people in black clothes here. Some of them are crying and hugging each other. She stares, wondering what that would be like. To be like these people, one of them.
So, OK, I’m here. Now what? Right, talking to you. I don’t miss you. I never had you. I feel nothing but emptiness and mild nausea.
There must be something I’m thankful for.
Thank you for dying when you did. Your timing was good. Had it been any sooner or later, my escape would not have been as effective. It was a narrow one as it is.
People brought flowers. I wonder who and when. Your sister, your friends. You said you wouldn’t mind dying if you could have a big funeral attended by many. You died three years later and got your wish. Big funeral. Obviously, lots of people really loved you. Right?
She walks away slowly. OK, one flower. A candle. And a drink, it’s so hot.
At the florist, she asks if they have a cheaper flower. She can’t afford the one they offered, but she wants the question to make her sound just mean and nasty. They ask if it’s for a funeral, if they should wrap it, if… “Something else. Never mind.” She frowns at them.
She returns and forces the stem of the cheap white rose into the crammed vase.
Like when he forced himself on you when you were a shriveling, puking, motionless mass of cancer and chemotherapy. Demanding his daily dose.
You had every right to never stand up for yourself. You had every right to let your mother keep you forever in a cage. You had every right to let your husband crush your soul into a pulp.
You had no right to sacrifice your child, though.
She lights a candle in the little church with freshly painted fresco painting.
Mary, Mary on the wall,
Who are mother to us all,
Be my mother – but for real –
And please teach me how to feel.
OK, some tears at last. She goes back to the grave.
So, thank you for dying when you did. The other day, I told a friend, without even thinking, “I’m lucky that my mother died, so that's all I need to tell people in response to any mother-related questions. They nod knowingly and leave it at that.”
It’s not my fault, you know. Human beings love and miss other human beings they’ve had some sort of a human connection with. Friends, distant relatives, fucking acquaintances.
I mean, if my sometimes-annoying-but-fundamentally-human-mother-in-law were to die, for instance, I’d, I’d…
Now she’s crying.
Ten years today. A third of her life. But, really, motherless from day one.