"You know your father like his dinner hot, so I'll prepare something before he gets back" My mother's singsong voice wafted across the kitchen
I held my breath, not sure I wanted to know where this was heading. Mum, just stop all these. Stop acting. The word was at the tip of my tongue but I didn't say them. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, it hadn't been easy on her
"Emma!" She called my name and I turned to face her. She was pale and thin,her hair was messy and unkempt. I let my gaze fall to her face,lines creased the corners of her eyes, though she was still young and pretty.
"You aren't listening " She let out her breath in a quick huff.
I swallowed, inhaled deeply. Just to make her happy, I'm going to play along. I wielded a sad smile and nodded.
She did a silent dance through the kitchen and dinning room as she prepared the salad,and set the table for three. This was one of those times I I had always wanted to avoid. I understood why she acted this way,she hadn't accepted the fact that he was gone.
"I'll be back, let me shower before dinner" With quick steps, she disappeared into the next room. I stared at the door, looking for nothing in particular. I had always wished it was a lie,that he wasn't gone.
"Emma!" My mother's voice snapped me out of thoughts and I turned to see what she wanted. She wore a blue silk dress,the one she had worn on their 21st Anniversary. She wore her hair in a bun.
"Is he not yet back?" She looked at her watch anxiously "Do you think something bad happened?"
"No, mum" I lifted my hand to just beneath the corners of my eyes and caught two tears just before they could fall. I didn't want to see me in tears. I had to be strong for her, for us.
"It worries me that he hasn't come home yet" She paused, shook her head,thought for a moment "should I call him to find out what's keeping him this late?"
"Mum!, he will come home soon" I was too choked up to speak,so my words were a tiny whisper.
Almost immediately, my phone buzzed making me mother to jerk up. My nerves prickles prickled as I eyed my phone on the counter in front of me. I wasn't going to pick up the phone. I wasn't interested in whatever it was. I wasn't interested in anything.
"Emma, did you hear that?" My mother rose to her feet "It's the door bell, your father is back!"
I drew in a deep breath and gathered courage. This wasn't the first time it was happening.
"I'll get the door" she smiled and walked towards the front door
A stream of tears streamed down my cheeks and I wiped them off quickly. She opened the door but saw no one "But...I heard the bell. Maybe he is playing a prank on us,he will show up soon. Just wait and see"
"Mum,please!" I pleaded but she payed no attention "Do you think he would like a hot bath?" She turned to face me
"Mum!" I snapped "Stop all these,dad is dead. He died in a car accident six months ago. He is not coming back" I felt the sharp sting of tears as the words left my mouth.
My mother looked at me,frowned, shook her head faintly....."I don't understand"
I closed my eyes just for a moment. Okay God....Please. I can do this. "Dad is gone. Stop acting like you don't know all these. Mum,just accept it. He is not coming back" I heard my voice getting higher and higher
My mother's eyes narrowed menacingly "That's no way to talk to your mother, young lady. What's in the name of heaven are you talking about?"
Acid crept up my throat, I could do this. I could talk sense into her. I could stop this constant reminder that my father was gone for good.
"Mum, I know this is too much for you accept but it's the truth" I walked up to her and wrapped my hands around her neck in a hug. "There's no point worrying over things you can't change. Death is inevitable"
She pulled back as I mentioned the terminal word
"But we can make everything all right again" She sniffed and smiled "Me, you and Da...." She stopped talking and stared at me.
"Mum, listen to me" I came closer and hugged her again, keeping my face closer to hers and said "You can't just wave a wand and make everything alright again. We lost dad,we didn't ask for it to happen. It just did"
She didn't answer, couldn't. Instead she looked into my eyes like a lost child.
"I love you, mum.....I'm sorry about all these but you have to let go.
I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer. I wanted her to be calm,back to the way she was before dad died. I cleared my throat and hopes what I was about to do would work. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.
I hummed her a lullaby, it could make her sleep. At least she would forget what it's like to loose the one you loved.