My mother is still very much alive, but there are lots of situations where I grieve for a mother I never had. Tonight is one of them.
I miss a mother when I am sleeping in our spare room, after yet another fight forms another crack in my relationship. I miss her when my eyes are red, my cheeks puffy and my lips stinging from hours of tears. I miss her when he is sleeping above me, silent and so still that I can hear his breaths as they press the mattress and the tiny movement creaks the floorboards of our beautiful old house, the home that was, because I don’t feel welcome in it anymore. I miss her when I have half a corner of a pillow in my mouth to stop my sobs from escaping, lest I wake him and the argument starts all over again.
I miss a mother when, in the cold light after the fight, when we’re being that bit too polite and dancing around each other in doorways like strangers, I wonder to myself if this is right. I miss the chance to hear her tell her experience of love and loss, of hearts bursting through joy and through sorrow. I miss her when I lie down the telephone, pass off my croaky voice and my down in the dumps attitude as a phase that will pass; we just need to spend more time together, we just need a date night, we just need a chance. I miss her when even I’m not sure if my excuses are true anymore. I miss her when she doesn’t send me her pearls of wisdom. I miss her when I wonder whether someone else’s mother would tell their daughter to stay and fight, or to walk away. I miss her when I need someone to tell me whether the fairytales and magazines and movies were lying all along; when I need to know if being in love is meant to be this painful, whether princes and tall towers and happy ever afters just don’t exist. I miss her when I feel like perhaps someone should have taught me about love, and not left me to learn it from sources who tell stories and untruths for a living.
I miss a mother when I know I am the only one in my corner. I miss her when I need someone to tell me that I’m worth more than being treated like this. I miss her when I am scared. I miss a mother when I need a hand to hold. I miss her when life’s decisions feel too big to make on my own.
I miss her when she is not there, as she never has been, and never will.