One crow black night in March, I bungeed my way back with a snap, crackle and pop to the womb home where baby bubble was brought up like phlegm. I’d clicked my star ruby ring three times unwittingly while knitting and back I was zapped. In the doorway of our kitchen, with my dad’s body laying on the ground behind her: she asked me if I’d come back home and live with her. Those pleading watery olive-pip eyes of hers looking up at me and in that moment I realised we were slowly trading places. How could I deny her? It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.
And in the popping of a grape, I broke a habit 17 years strong. More than a decade of dusting my own dumping ground and lugging laundry from one floor to the next, ramming it through the round window while I watch it rinse and wring itself clean. Relinquished the right to re-order the cupboards according to my own rules. And the precise method for hanging the laundry in the correct way is suddenly something I suck at. No sheet hung by my own fair hand will ever stay hung in the way I’ve hung it. A magical mysterious re-arranging of everything I do like an automatic spell check and before I know it all my colours are colors and no matter which dictionary I use, I’ll always fail the Daz white challenge.
But she is sweet and she loves me without question. And without her need to breed, I would never be here in the first place. So we knit together and watch all her favourite crime shows, one after the other, in the steamy washing-on-heaters hushed orange glow of familial love. I call her for dinner when I’ve finished conjuring culinary delights in the kitchen. Down goes the knitting, off goes the latest episode of ‘flog it’ and in she shuffles with her perpetually slippered feet. Watching her eat, I wonder what she’s thinking and how she’s feeling. I wonder who she really is other than my mum. But I know she will never tell me, and she doesn’t know anyway because she keeps too busy for the neurosis that nags at me all day long. When she’s done, she’ll put down her fork without fail and proclaim that she’s bloated, shoulders relaxing down in an exaggerated sigh and hands resting on the belly where I once lived. A smile hits my mouth like an unexpected kiss because no matter how irrationally irritated with her I become at times, I know that I will always love her and that’s enough to see me through another season of CSI.