Beautiful photo by Christian Spencer
December afternoon. I wait by the lemon tree for a visit from my mother who is felt before heard, heard before seen, and seen only for seconds before she whirrs away, a ruby wild rag ‘round her neck to hide the clothesline scar. I recall the white silk scarf that on the road to Nogales freed itself from her throat and flew right out the open window spinning and floating across the Sonoran landscape, like a dancing dervish in a tumbleweed skirt. My mother in her silver t-bird—the one with the port holes—never gave a thought to stop along the roadside and give chase to something already lost.
My mother in her square-framed movie-star shades, red hair, red lips, red nails; can this possibly be the same person I came to know in muted variations of ecru and white?
I am waiting by a lemon tree for a visit from my now iridescent mother who comes and goes just as she pleases in her new and shining body.
Weekend afternoon of every week, every month, every year, I wait for my mother to pick me up and carry me off to her life for a few quiet hours. I hear her sedan turn the corner at the top of the street, tires crunching on loose pea gravel as she slows to a stop by the mailbox and kills the engine. Usually, I feel her waiting for me out there in her silence. But sometimes I forget the day and make her wait a very long time until someone yells, “Hey, your mom’s outside!”
I am always just a little girl waiting for her mother, and I am always just a mother waiting for her little girl.
Carolyn Healy (1/2020)