Free Writing

To post for free or not to post for free that is the question I’ve been battling but I’ve decided I’m just going to go for it. Hope you enjoy and share…

‘A Mother’s Gift’

February

6:32pm

‘I’ve told you once and I’ll tell you a thousand times, no daughter of mine is going to be walking down the aisle in a black dress!’, I fumed at her.

‘But mum, you don’t understand!’

‘Oh yes darling, but I do. You are going through this ‘Goth faze’ but trust me, years down the line, when you look back on your wedding photographs you are going to regret it’.

‘I’m sure I won’t’, she argued.

I sighed down the telephone line. We’d had this discussion many times before. There was no getting through to her when she was in this mood. She could be so stubborn. Just like her father.

‘Darling I’ve got to go’, I could hear my oven timer ringing in the kitchen, ‘please just promise me you’ll have a serious think about this before you go out and buy anything?’

‘Bye mum’

‘Bye’

I put down the receiver with a heavy heart. Her wedding was less than six months away now. The time had just flown by. One thing I was grateful for was her gentleman Luke, he’s lovely. I couldn’t ask for a better son in law. He treats her well, understands her and perhaps most important of all: is patient with her. She still has her tantrums, even at twenty-two. I was so much more mature at her age, in fact I’d already had a baby at her age, I’d had her: my little Angel. A name she now looks on with scorn. I hadn’t chosen it though, her father had. I’d been the victim of a car accident when I was small and the doctors had told my mother the injuries I’d sustained would leave me unable to carry a child. That’s why when our daughter was born my husband had chosen the name Angel, as he thought she was a precious gift from God. She is.

March

4:09pm

‘How did it go?’, I asked nervously.

‘I’ve got it!’, she squealed down the line.

‘Oh my gosh darling! What’s it like? It’s not black is it?’

‘Mum!’

‘Well is it?’

‘I’m not telling you, you’ll just have to wait and see’.

My heart sank. I wanted to see my daughter looking like a princess on her special day not the Angel of death. Angel was in her final year at University down in Oxford, reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics, whatever that was. Any time she mentioned her assignments I felt like my brains had turned to scrambled egg. She’s the clever one in the family. The first one to go off to University. Her father would have been so proud of her.

‘I’ve found them sweetheart’, I’d told her, fingering the lace carefully.

‘Oh mum, I’m so glad! I was worried you had thrown them out at a car boot sale or something’

‘Oh no dear, I’ve been holding on to these’

‘When is it you’re coming down?’

‘I can come down next weekend, your Aunt Francis can bring me’

‘I can’t wait mum, I’ve started tidying up already!’

‘Don’t be so silly, you know I don’t come to judge’

She is always wanting my approval asking, ‘Is this okay mum’, ‘is that okay mum?’. And so forth. But lately she had been doing it less and less. I suppose now she’s getting married and graduating she’s starting to know her own mind. But, I can’t help worrying that I’ll no longer be needed. I adore those phone calls, even the ones late in the evening, asking me ‘how do I make cheese sauce again?’, ‘What can I do to thicken this?’,  ‘Is it okay to use this past it’s sell by date’ and so on.

June

11am

‘I’ve decided’, I tell Linda, my best friend of twenty-odd years.

‘Go on, tell me’, she pleaded. We’d been discussing ideas for weeks now.

‘I can’t, I’m not going to tell anyone, it’s going to be a surprise’

‘Has she an idea even?’

‘I don’t think so!’, I could feel my voice starting to do that same squeaking that my daughter’s does when she gets excited.

‘How lovely. Are you still coming to bingo on Friday?’

‘Yes, wouldn’t miss it’

The truth was I had missed a few lately. I’d had so much on my mind. I’d been preparing so much that I had felt like going straight to sleep in the evenings after dinner.

‘It’ll be nice to catch up, the rest of the girls are coming’

‘Lovely’, I replied.

‘I think even Jerry might be coming, Susan bumped into him the other day and he was asking after you’

‘Oh yes?’, I inquired trying to sound interested. Jerry was a nice man, but nothing like Sam (my late husband). In all the years since he’s past I haven’t been able to look at another man. Maybe I should give Jerry a chance?

‘Yes, and he was seen in Marks and Spencer’s buying a meal for one by Denise’

It sounds like my friends had turned into spies in their spare time, I thought.

‘It is sad, isn’t it’, she prompted.

‘I suppose’, I sighed, ‘Look I’ll talk to him Friday if he’s there alright?’

That satisfied her. If it wasn’t Linda trying to set me up with someone it was Angel. I put the handset back in its cradle and made my way to the kitchen to make myself a drink whilst I had a good think about things, and a cheeky biscuit or two.

‘You look beautiful darling’, I said, dabbing tears with my ancient hanky.

July

2:17pm

‘Thank you’, she twirled. Her beautiful dress was ivory silk and fitted her perfectly. I now realised she wasn’t my little girl anymore, she was a young woman, about to set out on the greatest adventure of her life! I was glad she hadn’t chosen a black dress after all, but she did put a few dark touches to it: a black ribbon circled her delicate waist and a black diamante necklace sparkled against her olive skin.

‘I’m so proud of you sweetheart’

‘And you don’t mind the black bits?’, she giggled, sounding five years old all over again.

‘Of-course not, they are you, and I understand that now, I’m sorry’

‘Don’t be silly mum’, she corrected, holding out a paddle brush.

As I brushed her long thick raven black hair I thought back on the times I’d tied together her blonde wavy locks, always with a black ribbon, and chuckled to myself.

‘What is it?’, she asked.

‘Nothing, just I don’t think we’re that different, you and I’

It was getting close to the time now, the time to give her away. I was so nervous, probably more nervous than Angel. She appeared to be in a state of bliss as she sat at the gilded mirror on a gold and cream upholstered stool.

‘I want to give you your present now, if you don’t mind?’

‘Okay, if you’re sure’

I opened my little black bag, I had to have something black with me today didn’t I? And carefully retrieved two lace gloves. The ones she’d asked for. She must have forgotten about them because she only asked me the once, and hadn’t mentioned them since.

‘I’ve never told you this, but these gloves are very old. They were my great grandmother’s on her wedding day and they are very precious, just like you’

She looked down at the gloves with tears in her eyes.

‘Oh mum, thank you’, she managed, wiping tears away gently.

‘You’ll ruin your makeup’, I quickly put in.

‘It’s meant to look smudged, it’s the smoky eye look’, she replied shaking her head. She held out her arms and I carefully dressed them with the gloves.

A mother’s gift: two ancient lace gloves, worn by four generations, dyed black.

 

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