Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Growing Up

I think wistfully about what I will be like when I grow up.

Clean credit cards,

a clean sink that gleams, as if it has never glimpsed a dirty dish,

a son, settled into sleep (I am so convinced it is a boy),

while I write,

perched on the windowsill,

singing softly to my assorted indoor plants,

and the patient glow of the moon.

There is no landlord,

and I am the lady of a tidy home,

wearing neat, sensible clothes as I turn walks to nursery school into a wild adventure,

quite out of character for my new persona,

but the last little part that I will keep of who I was.

There is a shadow of a soulmate,

when I dream about it,

always in the corner of my eye,

or just out of reach,

and sometimes,

I ask them who they are,

but there is always refusal,

so I reluctantly accept that sometimes,

you have to wait for the answers.

I spend my time,

in the current time, being stiff, distant and weird to suitors,

so I can be sure that they’ll stay,

if I get back to my old ways (which are technically my current ways),

but just like the lonely sea,

I am always left bereft,

so,

sometimes,

I think I ought to try being more palatable,

but who really wants to just be tolerated?

My son has dark brown eyes, like mine,

and I have yet to tell him that the dinosaurs are extinct,

because I cannot bear to break his heart.

He has the smallest hands I have ever held,

but they are always cold,

like a ghost,

and I haunt the hospital,

pleading for peace of mind,

while a doctor (always a male) tuts, and says that ALL new mothers are hysterical.

I have never seen my boy as baby,

so it feels unfair to be labelled as new,

but I suppose it’s one of those things where you never stop learning,

so I lean into the label,

grateful that my child gazes up at me as if I am a God.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Mary’s Boy Came Home

You came home,

long hair billowing in the spring winds,

sunlight shining through the open door as the sea of your mother’s tears finally parted and peace returned to her pillow.

She lived another lifetime in the time you were gone,

her eyes were weary but her arms were welcoming,

and you fit so neatly inside her embrace,

because it was your home.

Your soul is scarred but you don’t let her see,

breaking bread while the sun sets,

and she stares with awe filled eyes,

because her heart was gone,

three days of hell,

endured by a pure woman,

who had felt more pain than she had ever caused,

but you came home,

and now her heart is where it belongs.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

What I Will Tell My Son About COVID-19

My eyes are staring back at me,

inquisitive and destined for exploration.

They want an explanation,

help with homework,

because a hellish phase of my life has now become history,

and I am a book,

as well as a chef,

so as I make dinner,

I don’t deny my curious companion the answers.

“Madre…”

The water simmers softly around the pasta,

a tiny hand,

that was once much smaller,

shyly pulls on my dress.

“What was the war on COVID like?”

Of course, it becomes a war,

because Britain cannot face its past,

without overdramatising.

“Overwhelming.”

My eyes meet mine again,

wide and wondering,

as I continue a lecture I still don’t feel qualified to deliver.

“I went walking in the park every day.”

He wants more.

“Your uncle made a lot of cakes.”

More, Madre.

“Grandma got a dog.”

I don’t tell him that I went to the park,

just to weep for what I was losing,

money,

my mind,

months at a time,

just wandering in the darkness,

waiting for relief that would never come.

I don’t tell him that the cakes came to pass,

because his uncle found me,

tear stained in the bathroom,

and he thought that filling my mouth with sweet treats,

would stop me saying I couldn’t stand life any longer.

I don’t tell him that grandma got a dog,

because she was locked away,

for far too long,

and she needed noise,

some warmth inside the quiet walls she called home.

I tell him about the singalongs,

weekly wailing applause,

zoom quizzes,

work from home sleep ins,

fighting back giggle fits,

when my first Covid test made my nose ticklish,

and the absurd exhilaration that his uncle and I felt,

when McDonalds was finally back on Ubereats.

I gently tell him of the loss,

how I was lucky to keep hold of each piece of my heart,

I let him imagine some of the drama,

so he can think of me as a hero,

but I never really tell him about lost,

lonely nights,

sleepless and never ending,

hospitals that became hell,

every night on the news,

pleading with the windows that stood between hearts to disappear,

how he was lucky to keep hold of his ability to exist,

because I almost lost mine.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Personal, Writing

I love you, Mother

I cried once,

on Christmas Day,

alone in the kitchen,

because you said that you were proud of me,

and I was overwhelmed,

uncertain if I deserved adoration.

Being proud of me must have been a long road.

I know that I trouble you,

without ever meaning to.

I used to see myself as an iceberg,

bound to break you,

dragging you down to my glacial despair,

but something you were bound to,

nonetheless.

I think I’ve melted,

and I’m not sure what I am now.

Christmas is coming,

I think I’m due another cry,

it’s been a rough year,

I haven’t seen you since February.

I met a nice man, mother.

I think you’ll like him,

so you have to promise that we’ll meet again,

at some point,

far away,

preferably near,

but fate doesn’t factor in my wants and needs,

when it throws me into situations.

Don’t you think I’ve lived through enough?

The planes that fell,

the markets that followed,

the fear that sank into the streets,

making them mean and intimidating.

I feel like I was young so long ago,

with each new event making it easier to forget,

when I was with you,

happy and whole,

before the twenty four hour news cycle,

and the cycling memories of my own personal hell.

You were right about the very first one, mother.

It’s so long ago,

that sometimes I forget,

except on the thirty first of December,

when I cry all night,

trying to stop myself from going back in time.

My skin was a canvas,

and his art was not made to be understood.

He was so full of rage,

his brushes were vile and violent,

but I stayed because I was desperate to be loved.

Something inside of me is broken, mother,

but it cannot be fixed,

so I just hope for kindness from a cruel world,

and try to survive.

This one is nice, mother.

He kisses me,

as if I am a beautiful girl,

and not as if I am a hole for him to enjoy.

I haven’t touched a drink in months,

and I haven’t lied about it in minutes,

but you don’t need to worry,

because I only drink with my nice man,

and he’s nice,

so I won’t get up to any mischief,

or end up in places I shouldn’t.

He makes me go to bed at a sensible time,

and I wake up waiting for him to kiss me,

as if I am a beautiful girl.

He always does.

You told me that I deserved to be happy,

and I think that I am,

at last.

I am locked in the house,

again,

not by love,

but by law.

I’m fine on Saturdays,

fucked up on Sundays,

sinking into the bleak routine of getting by on Monday Morning,

and I wonder,

if you find yourself frustrated,

that I was born,

so clean,

but ended up such a mess?

I love you, mother.

I want to cry again.

Please make me cry.