That’s what you do best. One look through your straight lashes and I’m down on the floor.
You would tell me what I couldn’t do, how futile my efforts were. Your hits were always hard across my cheek, the shackles tight around my ankles. But
guess what? There’s a fifty in the ashtray
for your car that I’m driving down the highway.
Your gurgling laugh echoes in the hallway and your pattering footsteps follow next.They fall gently upon the wooden floorboards, like the soft drizzling rain. You laugh, and a smile tugs at the ends of my lips.
Mambu was your first attempt at calling me Mama. You got it right eventually, which made me feel bittersweet. Mambu will always, secretly, be my favorite word.
For you, learning the alphabet came as naturally as crawling. On the first day you were starting with Z; the very next day, you had it all down. Me and Dad thought you were an alphabet prodigy!
Your smile is like the sun, warm and bright. It is the best remedy for anything. Even if you did break my favorite porcelain flower pot. One smile and I decided I didn’t quite like it as much anymore.
“I’m leaving, Mom.”
The finality and determination in your voice squeezed my heart as hot tears rolled down my cheeks. We knew this day would come, a day when you went out to the world and learnt how to fend for yourself. A day when our little one would grow up and gain the independence we always hoped you would. But it was all too fast. How had all these years passed by in a blink of an eye?
“Okay,” my voice shook as the words formed in my mouth. It took all the courage and strength I had to keep my composure. I wanted to say no, you aren’t going anywhere; I wanted to keep you safe and sound for as long as I could.
“I love you Mom.”
I know little one, I love you too.
Your eyelids flutter and I am trapped by that bright hazel gaze. I freeze, like a deer caught in headlights.
They are beautiful.
They twinkle whenever there’s a laugh. It’s like an addiction, and I can’t seem to look away. My world swerves and bewitched, I watch as it plays in slow-motion.
My heart skips a beat too many as I fall,
slowly, into oblivion.
press your blackened fingers into me. Cigarette smoke trails from your chipped lips and the familiar scent entices me. A dangerous fire flickers in your eyes. I can’t bring myself to look away, and you know it all too well. With your cheshire smile, you chain me down and entrap me within a birdcage.
Sing, you say, and so I sing. A note of disapproval resounds from your throat, the disappointment clear in your eyes.
Dance, you demand, and like a puppeteer, I twirl and waltz.
You stand and leave, a grin of satisfaction upon your cheeks.
I step onto a path that runs too far. It hangs in mid-air, a thin line. Fear corrodes me–my heart, my mind; I cannot lie anymore, nor fantasize. I am lost. The lonely road stretches on and on, a road of no return and gravity threatens me with every step I take. Where am I bound towards? I trudge on as the burden weighs me down, clawing its way down my arms.
I am scared, scared of where this leads me. The dark abyss below invites me, seducing me into its eternal black waltz. Yet, I persist.
I walk on.