Thursday, 11 March 2010
Mother's Day #fridayflash
Although this story stands alone, it could be the start of a far longer tale - let me know what you think and if you'd be interested in reading more......
“I wish you weren’t my mother. I hate you.”
Laura rolled her eyes at her screaming daughter, refusing to bite, refusing to let the teenager gain the upper hand. Hours spent perusing parenting forums had taught her not to take this kind of behaviour personally, the thirteen year old who respected and appreciated their parents being a very rare species indeed.
“I wish you’d never had me. Or I’d been adopted at birth!”
It wasn’t a big surprise to Laura that Bethany had failed to get her a gift for Mother’s day. Any acknowledgement of gratitude would have been nice, but the relationship between them had been even more strained than usual of late and Laura had to be content with the fact that she was getting to spend some time with her today, even if it was more an expletive laden war of words than an affectionate bonding session.
As a child Bethany had sported a halo of blonde curls, although as she grew these gave way to a darker complexion which Laura attributed to her absent father. As they walked hand in hand people
had often commented how much the infant looked like her mother, Laura swelling with maternal pride at the beautiful daughter that she had once thought she would never have. After an acrimonious divorce Laura had flitted between relationships, the deep scars inflicted by her marriage causing her to run a mile as soon as the idea of love or commitment entered the head of either party. Hitting forty she was struck by the realisation that her body clock was winding down, the window of fertile opportunity closing fast. She stopped taking the pill and set about a mission to bed as many eligible men as possible. She couldn’t care less if they were good father material as she intended to raise her child alone; as long as the prospective donor was reasonably attractive and capable of holding conversation she had no further qualms. In spite of this lack of discretion the mission went on for five fruitless years and Laura had pretty much given up hope when, at long last, along came Bethany.
Beautiful baby Bethany. Mummy’s little miracle.
“Another slice of cheesecake, sweetheart?”
“No, what do you think I am, a pig? You trying to fatten me up, make me fat and ugly like you?”
“Now, Bee. That’s not a nice thing to say, is it? No matter how much you wish otherwise, I’m your Mum, and nothing can change that.”
“It doesn’t mean that I have to like you though, fat old bitch. I must have done something wrong in a past life to end up with such an old cow for a Mum.”
Laura rose abruptly, deciding to forego the wisdom of Mumsnet.com et al and give her daughter a piece of her mind.
“How dare you speak to me like that, after all I do for you? Get to your room now. I will not be spoken to like that. NOW.”
Without a further word Bethany left the room, slamming the door behind her.
Laura cleared the table before settling down in her armchair with a cup of tea and the Sunday paper. As the quality time with her daughter that she had hoped for clearly wasn’t going to happen she would have to make do with some quality time with herself. She flicked past the usual sensationalist articles about footballers’ indiscretions and philandering politicians, the same old stories as last week just with different faces. A ‘heart-warming’ spread showing the beaming faces of families who had triumphed against adversity put a grimace on her face; did the publishers not realise that by devoting column inches to these paragons of virtue they would serve to make ordinary Mums struggling with ordinary issues feel even more inadequate than usual? Laura turned the page with disdain.
On the next page there was a picture of a couple, ordinary looking people stood in front of a tired council house. They were nothing special to look at, but their sad faces were known by the nation, had been for well over a decade now along with the photo of a dribbling baby that they clasped tightly in every shot.
As today was Mothers Day, a new image had been released to the press using the latest technology to show what Lisa Davies would look like today. The silent majority were convinced that Lisa had been dead over a decade now and questioned whether it was really right for the tabloids to keep covering the story in this way, milking the tragedy for all it was worth and giving the sad faced parents false hope in the process. Laura had certainly had enough of the story; was there anything at all in this rag resembling actual news?
Hearing footsteps coming down the stairs Laura folded the newspaper and tossed it on to the open fire at her side. She regularly asked herself why she bothered wasting her money on such trash when it always ended going up the chimney, but it was a matter of habit and the morning stroll to the newsagents a welcome excuse for a bit of fresh air.
The door creaked open and Bethany sheepishly entered.
“I thought I’d told you to stay in your room;” Laura said in what she intended to be a stern manner, but which was rendered ineffective by the smile that darted across her face the instant that she saw the envelope clasped in her daughter’s hand.
“I’m sorry about earlier Mum, I didn’t mean it. Happy Mother’s Day”.
Laura opened the envelope and was greeted by a card showing a cartoon bear holding a bunch of flowers underneath a banner reading ‘World’s Best Mum’.
“Come here, sweetie.” Bethany sat on the arm of the chair and Laura her pulled into a tight hug. “Thanks, it’s really lovely."
Bethany squirmed, embarrassed by the outpouring of emotion.
“That’s ok Mum, it’s nothing.” She wriggled free of the embrace and slid off the chair. “Is it ok if I head back to my room now? I’m going to get on with my homework.”
“Of course, Bee. You do that.”
As Bethany left the room Laura wiped a tear away from her cheek. She’d never believed it until she became a parent herself, but she knew now that it was true that no matter how petulant their behaviour and venomous their words, a mother’s love for her child is unwavering. Although it was inevitable that they would not always see eye to eye, she could say without any doubt that she loved Bethany just as much today as the day that she was born. The day that she was born - and the day that she snatched her from the hospital.