Before my father walked into the light my mother's eyes were the color of a caelum sky. She never saw the vile things he did. His tea, with milk and spice was always ready for him. On days that he spent time with us, she smelled of vanilla and rose. He gave her treasured jewels that she kept in pill boxes. There was always something new for her to wear. She was a tall woman, the length of secrets, her legs slender and always bare of stockings. Her dresses were short: violets, crimson, maroon, thick belts hugged her slim waist. She was henna and onyx. Beautiful and strange. Why would my father lose his way?
Her eyes found a way to see only what she wanted to know. Only what was undisturbed, newly born, not yet tarnished.
He would only stay for a few days at a time. His work was important, my mother would say. And in his absence she would play her violin. I'd listen to her, playing to the wind, spying on her from a window bench in an upstairs room. She kept her distance from me during this time. She roamed our house alone, those days when I lived with a ghost. I was left to care for myself. My clothes didn't get washed but I would cook my own meals. I learned to bake, scones and muffins for dinner, hoping that the scents would awaken my mother. Outside, under a trellis, crawling with stars from jasmine and anise, I would find her sitting for hours. When my father was away she didn't eat. She would make bouquets, ornamenting her empty space, her violin never leaving her shoulder, bottles of Bordeaux, Massandra, and Montrachet she emptied.
My father had another life. It wasn't as though I didn't know this. She forced me to believe that he had troubles, ones that he needed to figure out in his own space. My mother fooled herself, she decided that I was naive.
There was an autumn morning when the world was turning orange and the winged things were taking flight. I woke up early knowing that my father had left in the middle of the night. I found a stack of boxes sitting on our kitchenette table. Gorgeous hat boxes, I know they held things that made women beautiful, perfumed scarves, mohair and muslin.
I played in the garden till noon that day. When my mother decided to wake she came to visit me. She walked towards me softly, her feet bare, her presence unexpected. Across from me she hugged herself, draped in a cream colored robe. Her skin was starchy and pale and she smelled of grapes and sickness. She explained to me that my father was gone. She told me that he had taken his life or so, that his troubles had taken him. She said that he suffered deep inside of his head. My mother stood across from me that day, her cheeks salty and smeared with blush, and covered me with her lie. She said that he faded into the light, this is what she said. I knew it was a lie; he decided to stay in that other world that he lived in, leaving my mother and her blueish eyes, colorless and faint. Leaving her to fill her boxes with shame.
For dVerse Poets, happy anniversary, on Open Link Night. Cheers!