She is at my door again tonight.
That makes three weeks now. Three solid weeks that bitch has been at my back door, pounding away like an insane person, screaming my name. I have memorized her cadence, the way her voice cracks when she’s been at it for too long. The way it wavers and breaks off sometimes like she’s simply got no more breath in her and then it starts again. Screaming.
I understand that mothers love their sons. I know that. I know how hard it must be to carry something around inside you that will eventually leave. It must be unbearable at times but this, oh god, this is madness.
The doorknob rattles. I can hear the glass in the door making that ominous sound as though the panes might shatter apart at any given moment. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t yet.
I’ve turned out all the lights. I learned I must do this before she arrives or she might know I’m in here. This way there’s at least some doubt, some chance she may give up and leave me the fuck alone for one night.
Screaming. She’s still screaming.
I won’t let her in. Go away, Mother.
It’s hard for me too, you know? Raising children is difficult but it’s also difficult to be raised, especially when not everyone is as cut out to be parents as you’re supposed to think when you’re little. When you’re a kid you just assume all the adults are always right, they always know just what to do. They’re infallible. If you didn’t believe that, the whole system would fall apart.
But there are people who shouldn’t have had children. Women who shouldn’t have had children. Women who became mothers and then became monsters.
She has hit the door so hard I hear the plates in my cabinet rattle against each other.
Go away, Mother.
I grew up thinking that all mothers did what Mother did. That all mothers and sons were best friends, they all slept in the same bed every night and kept each other company. Without a father (and without my own friends) I had nothing else to compare it to. She told me the way things were and I was a weak child and I believed it. I loved my Mother, I still do, but god, oh god, it was madness.
The mothering. The smothering. The way she stroked my face and told me I was her special boy, her only boy, the only boy in the world for her. The arms wrapped around me at night, so tight and so resolute that sometimes I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
I didn’t really try to untangle myself from her for a long time. Until high school started and I noticed other girls. It didn’t matter what Mother said, that I was her only boy, there were other girls in my world and though I watched them from afar I could still imagine how they must be, how they must be different, how they must not smell like old powder and unopened windows and the stale, stale dust of our home.
Mother didn’t like that. She screamed then, too.
She threatened to pull me out of school. She said she’d ruin my life. She said she had the power, she could do it, and for once I didn’t believe her. I told her I needed to go to school, it was what normal kids did and oh god did I want to be normal.
A month into my freshman year, seeing that I wouldn’t obey her demands, Mother took too many of her pills and waited for me to come home. I found her in a puddle of her own sick, shuddering and coughing and asking why I couldn’t just listen, why did I make her do this?
I got her to the hospital in time but it was an effective teaching method – or punishment, depending on how you look at it.
I stayed home from school. She said she’d teach me herself, when she got better.
Sure, she taught me. She taught me how to hate. How to utterly hate the one person who loves you more than anything else even as you love them back. Because that’s what it came down to, you know? It was love, but it was the wrong kind of love. Anything can go bad if kept in the darkness long enough.
Go away, Mother.
I let it go on for years. I had tried to untangle myself from her and I had failed and so I stayed.
And then one night I caught a whiff of her as she passed by and that was all it took. Her mother smell. Dust and powder and old stale dead things, wasted years.
I decided then. I decided if I didn’t get away from her I would be as damaged as she was, and it didn’t matter that she loved me and I loved her because if I stayed one more day, one more second, oh god, it would be madness.
I left in the night when I thought I wouldn’t be noticed. I took the money she kept in a large glass mason jar beneath her bed – Mother doesn’t trust the banks, you know, I’m the only one she could trust she always said, what irony there is in the world! – and I just left. I rented a little shitshack house in a bad neighborhood and I got a job. A place she would’ve never gone, would never have even thought to go because it was full of filthy wretched people and her precious boy would never go somewhere she detested so.
I did what I could, you know? I did what I had to so I could live my own life without those mothering, smothering arms around me each night.
I wasn’t gone long before she found me and began the banging. The screaming. She wants me to let her in. It’s all she’s ever wanted, I suppose.
Why can’t I have what I want? God, the powdery-dust smell of her is still on me. I’m afraid it will never go away. I’m afraid I’ll smell her perfumed poison forever. I’m afraid it will drive me mad.
Go away, Mother.
GO AWAY, MOTHER!
Oh god, I can’t take the screaming.
She’s going to break my door down.
She thinks I won’t admit it! She thinks that I still want her arms wrapped around me like twin writhing snakes but I don’t! I don’t want her anymore! I did what I had to do!
I put a pillow over that bitch’s face and kept it there, I did, I can admit that now because she and I both know she was never going to let me go! I smashed that pillow down on her face until those fucking arms stopped thrashing, until those grabby hands stopped twitching, until I heard the brittle-branch sound of her nose snapping beneath my weight and even for some time after that. God, I loved that snapping sound.
I smothered her the way she smothered me and I’m glad I did it and I’m never going to let her in, no matter how hard she bangs, no matter how long she screams.
Go away, Mother.
This is madness.