Mom's Despair. With Love to William Dale Holland
I never knew why mom constantly stared out of the window, nor why she always looked so sad. Until today, that is. She seems to have lost all interest in her appearance, in what is effectively a woman’s best asset. Gaunt-looking, disheveled and unkempt, she stands at the window at 0900 hrs daily, like clockwork, her eyes otherworldly looking, solemn … sad. Perhaps 0900 hrs reminded her of the time she last saw him.
She holds a black and white photograph in her right hand, discolored from being squeezed between her thumb and fingers. The star-spangled colours are draped in the background. Mom rarely looks at it now, for she cries whenever she does. I once looked at it, picked it up from beneath her pillow while she slept.
Mom was a beautiful woman! radiant smile, alluring looks and mesmerizing eyes, she had a slim to medium figure and a curvy shape, if you know what I mean. Breasts fully defined amidst an enchanting curvature, she was poised, elegant and graceful. She once walked with meaning and laughed like a child. I could still tell by the many photographs in her album.
Next to her in the photograph was a young handsome man, about 18, perhaps, in an Army uniform much too big for him; boots that must have felt uncomfortable on his size 10 feet, even with the shine on them. I take it that he must have wanted to fight … to honour his country. Perhaps he enlisted in a hurry. Who knows? Mom never says much, except that he is my father, as if he is still there.
Today I ask about him once more, as any ten-year-old would who has never seen his dad.
“He’s fine, my darling, he’s fine." She whispers, as like someone whose life-energy had just taken a dip, still staring out of the window. She’s crying as I look towards the window. I see the silhouette of a man, not unlike my dad in the picture, sending kisses to us both with tears flowing down his cheeks.
“Has dad come home, mom?” I ask. “Yes, honey.” She replies, with no conviction in her voice and her face drained of all colour in the light.
Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 7th December, 2019
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