Mother by Natalie Mendolia

       Her deep black locks cascade across my forehead in a whimsical fashion as if they were parading down an empty runway, giggling and twirling only for me and my eager camera. She smells like melted butter and campfire stories, washed up sea shells from the Cape and burnt coffee, but nothing aches more in my chest when I am with her than the feeling of her skin, taught yet supple and always warm. Calling her mother doesn’t do justice to the job she loves. Life is more than an idea to her; it is a journey amongst stars not yet indoctrinated to the heavens of celestial bodies upon which we wish for new teddy bears, lost funerals, and wedding rings. And I am her pupil, her willing servant of a mind I desire to be tattooed on my flesh with the intent of an ardent Biblical author. We are not friends. We are not family. We are one. I am all she could never be and she is what I am too naïve to realize doesn’t not make fate treat you more kindly. Entwined in different generations yet woven with the same lustful spirit, my mother and I wreak havoc on simplicity of the mundane. Thunderstorms are meant for metallic dancing and sunrises are meant for too-hot tea and sadness, for looking at each other blankly and knowing one day we will forever be apart, forever listen to vinyl albums alone and pick up vagrant pennies for only one soul’s good luck. Our laughter is unanimous and our kindness is golden. She radiates a beauty only my ribcage can see because if my heart had eyes, it would live in an eternal shadow against her light. Pain is something she tells me will fade but will teach me how the corners on dark rooms met, why they amalgamated, when they kissed with salty tears for the first time, what their secrets moan to them at night. She is a fire to my forest and a crisp autumn breeze when summer’s reigning heat becomes unbearable. Our seasons change concurrently and love finds beautiful nooks for nestling in the divots of our sprinting feet as we pull the sky into new times. But she is not real, only a mere pigment of my tattered imagination. She is what God should have given me, yet who am I to ask for love. Who am I to want easy lessons? Who am I to want to forget her blood? A child. A wandered. A survivor. She will never know, but the stars will, and so when my eyes close for the last time, my sigh will become stone and eternity will erase the creases of her existence on the parade I built because when a hand becomes to hard to hold, you must, I tell you, you must break the mold.