“Hush, my child! You have to go through this too. I can’t help it.”
“But mama, it hurts.”
“I’m hurting too, baby, I am. I cannot go through this all on my own. There is love in sharing, right?”
I was much younger then but quite sure we weren’t talking about the same thing.
It hurt, but when I think about it now, I’m not sure which – the absence of a father or my mother’s hands as she pulled hard at the root of my hair to form a strong weave. She had done that for quite a while – weave, loose then weave again. She showed no sign of fatigue even when her shaky hands made the task quite difficult. It was the only thing that was able to keep her occupied; keep her mind from straying into the land of hows and whys. I was tired of seeing her cry over a lost love; one that had never really existed though. He had never been an engineer in any freaking oil company, never been a monogamist, never a tourist in the city they had met, never loved her. It had all been a big lie.
Her hushs no longer felt soothing and relaxing as they used to. It had been replaced with a barrel filled with anger and resentments. She couldn’t hear my cries as she tugged on; when she had been deafened by the sound of her own sobs. I winced repeatedly, hoping that she would look into my eyes and see my pain. But no! She went on and on like a car that had lost its brakes. I was hurting, but so was she.
I felt her tears drop onto my hair as she went on and felt mine sliding down my face over the little doll I held on to like a lifeline.
I remembered the times when she had made my hair in preparation for school, while I made the hair of my doll, Ana, at the same time. I had watched her from the mirror she had placed opposite us and tried to follow the movement of her hands. It had never being as pretty as the one she had done but would always say it was adorable; that it showed what a good mother I would become. But I couldn’t do that anymore, not while my scalps were on fire. I didn’t want to inflict the same pain on my Ana, I knew she didn’t deserve it. I wished mama knew I didn’t deserve it either.
I wasn’t going to blame her. She wasn’t my father that walked out the door without as much as a glance in our direction. She wasn’t the one that left us in the hands of the bank over a loan we knew nothing about. She wasn’t the one who had another wife and kid somewhere around the world. She wasn’t a liar and a cheat. She still loved me despite the fact that I had his eyes and his curly jet black hair.
But I still wish she knew I was hurting too.