I’m at my Mums best friends 50th birthday party, I’m sitting on the third floor of an old-school converted warehouse. Mexican theme, Sangria, nacho chips, surrounded by day of the dead and 50 year olds in one huge empty room. It’s cold here and I’m sitting in a red jacket on a somewhat wonky stool, sexy talking my fourth sangria while contemplating whether tonight is a good night to be drunk and decide that a hangover with Toddlers is pretty much a one way road to dead town, so no, nope and nup, tonight is not the night to be Drink Drank Drunk
Batman is playing Sweet home Alabama over in the far corner surrounded by the chattering waves of almost drunk people, he is the entertainment tonight. My mother leaves my side to go dance. I watch her teeny frame fleet enchantingly to the D-floor, shimmying and haunting across the floor. I sit, in my now warmth of red with some stale corn chips and an empty glass by this point. She wears heeled boots cuffed with fluff, black leggings and a long brown poncho that gives her the right amount of mexican and the right amount of hippie stoner. She sways to the song as I watch her, she wanders across the floor like she is one of a hundred on the floor not one of two, maybe like she once was. Her bewitching long hair sashays and sways with her body making her hippi-ness burst from her. I watcher her in adoration, in wander. Who was this woman, who could this woman have been if life had not been so unfair, if her own mother had been the right kind of mother to her.
I watch her; attentively. I’m deliberately searching her for her ‘ness’ to see if I know her, if I can recognise her as an actual human being and not as my mother, to see if I can forget anything that might interfere with how I see her right now in this moment and I do and it’s like I see her for the first time. Her little legs carrying her in bursts of light with each step across the wooden floor boards. There’s someone else inside and I’ve not seen it all this time.
I see her, her light. I feel like I see her ness differently now, the very oil’s of her, it flows from her and spills out, her colours fall from her in inky streams, bright, white, and pastel colours, they wave around her, they spill out onto the people around her flooding them in a rainbow of happy, sadness and heart that I haven’t seen before. Or perhaps i didn’t see before. Couldn’t see before. Oh the beauty I have missed.
She wanders back to our table after Batman has a small applause and begins the next song back in his corner crooning to the party goers the same way he has hundreds of times before. My Mum comes, stands next to me and puts her arm around my shoulders and pulls me into her as we watch the music, the chatter and the people, I rest my head on her and she pats me and she says in a voice I don’t recognise;
“Are you ok baby girl? Are you tired baby girl?”
I recoil and look at her as if she’s slapped me in the face. I know that sound, I know that touch but from where?
“Why did you say that?”
I snap at her a little and I don’t mean to, but I feel weird like I just popped off to another planet. Her face is blank and says she doesn’t know.
Inside, somehow i know, I know, she has always loved me, i don’t believe I really ever doubted that, she must have had to, she does. She acted this way to me, my mother. She has loved me always, and I didn’t remember. But she didn’t know that.
The next day
In the car on the way to father’s day lunch I sent my Mum a message, curious to know if I really had a flashback, weather it was real. I had to take the morning to process it, turns out she was under the impression that we were still close to this day because I remembered her doing and saying these very kinds of things to me. Now I am sure that her attempts of love and adoration almost seem wasted on me because I can’t recall them, like ‘if a bear shits in the woods’ type thing. But we are quite close and while we have had teething problems along the way, I chose to love my mother despite the fact she was essentially the only person that could have saved me from the abuse and the only reason it happened in the first place, the saddest part being that I had no recollection of her ‘loving’ me.
I sat in the car re-reading the messages between us, my eyes and chest gave into the overwhelming sadness and pain that I realise that I really didn’t know how much she must have loved me in a time when I felt unloved. I turned and faced the window because I was embarrassed that Batman would see me cry over something so seemingly small. But when you have a moment where you actually realise you weren’t just some Villains plaything but someones little girl it really just really fucks with your head. Because how do you explain how that might feel? I wouldn’t have known how to explain it.
I still chose her. When I didn’t have to. When many would say she failed me in some ways, but without her passing on her strength I would never have had the power to overcome something this big in the first place.
Because somewhere in there I knew, I knew you must have always loved me, because it was in there, hiding in my mind, that you would always be there for me, that even if it almost seems wasted.
It wasn’t though because I still choose you Mum.