My sister convinced me to email my mom a few months back. She emailed a few days later saying she’d gotten it and would reply as soon as she got to a computer and that she loved me.
She never replied.
It’s like I’ve been getting the silent treatment all my life. It’s like she’s mad at me. It’s like I’m being punished because I did something wrong.
I don’t get it. I thought it was unfair for me to decide I had the equivalent of one dead parent and one living one. I thought that comparing my quantity of parents to my best friend’s whose father died last summer was unfair and selfish and insensitive. I thought that if I ever decided I wanted to see my mother, I would theoretically be able to whereas my best friend, should she decide she wants to see her father, can’t. I thought any stories only my mother has ever known have not yet burned to ashes while leaving the atmosphere. But in reality, if I call out to my mother, nobody really answers. There is nobody there who can answer. The woman whose bones I was made from doesn’t breathe anymore. The elusive, barely unchaste, poetic woman my father fell in love with isn’t anywhere anymore.
She left through the smoke some woman has exhaled and floated forever upwards like a child’s helium-filled balloon – a silent and narcotic death. No phone call was made, no obituary was written, no funeral was held, and no casket descended into the ground. If Elvis faked his own death, then my mother continues to fake her own life every day.
My siblings and I are parents with a missing child who have waited by our phones for 10 years. It’s clear to everyone who had forgotten the kidnapping mere weeks after it headlined the local newspapers that this child will never find a way home. We’re still waiting for the phone to ring and we will not rest until it does. Whether it’s our mother on the other line or a faceless police officer calling from a decaying crack house, we are waiting for some peace of mind. Uncertainty leaves much room for imagination, but such imagination can lead us to our knees or to the blade or to the bottle.
I don’t know what my mother’s hug feels like, and not because she can’t hug me, but rather because she won’t. My mother has a terminal illness, but I am unable to spend my love on holding her hand in the hospital.
I would, mom. If you gave me your company to spend my love on, I would. I wouldn’t need to save up or go to the bank or cut back to gather that love because it’s been sitting in my heart, untouched, unspent, and forever accumulating for 15 years. A rainy day fund so large that I deserve a spot high up on the Forbes 400. I would spend all the love I’ve ever known on the sheerest moment with you.
I want to know where you grew up, if you got along with your siblings, who your first kiss was, and what your favorite subject was in school. I want to not feel pain when I read the titles of blog articles such as 5 Reasons Why I Know My Mother Is My Best Friend, 19 Signs Your Mom Is Your Best Friend, and Molded By My Loving Mother’s Hands. I want to not believe all the things my father says to insult me because there’s no mother to invalidate his claims. I want to remember what your voice sounds like and what you smell like.
I just want that phone call to come already. I want to know when to stop hoping.