My mother loves me but she doesn’t like me.
My mother loves me. She compares it to the love of self-sacrificing sons of Gods and martyrs, the easy choice of life or death, a burning star her body and soul were made to carry and home for eternity. She talks about it like it’s something so embedded in her soul it scares me that it is her only reason for living.
My mother doesn’t like me. I bring her to tears too often. Tears like wailing cries muffled into a pillow so my dad doesn’t hear, twitching hands scratching the dry skin between her fingers, digging into her own scalp until it bleeds.
My mother loves me. She wants me near all the time, says every minute without me around is a minute she dies a little bit inside, that she sleeps in my old room every night because it’s how she feels close to me, that without me she contemplates driving her car off of a bridge too often.
My mother doesn’t like me. She wishes she’d kept me in church instead of sending me to university. She mourns my old self like she mourns my dead sister, shakes my shoulder and screams she doesn’t know the person in front of her, keeps a photo of me at sixteen in long, dark hair and a red dress at an altar.
My mother loves me. There’s a faint scar on my right arm where her nails dug into my skin when she begged me to stay. She apologises for ruining me with glazed eyes and no grip on reality, muttering apologies repetitively like a mantra. She fears I’m forgetting her, so she makes sure I never stop worrying about her.
My mother doesn’t like me. The books on my bookshelf make her cry. The haircut I got makes her cry. The person I love makes her cry. The friends I keep make her cry. The art on my walls makes her cry. The words I write make her cry.
My mother loves me. Everyone else in my life is her enemy, poisoning my head against her God, against her morals, against her. She hides medals of the Virgin in my pillow, in my clothes, in my bag. There’s a statue on the shelf in my room, ever vigilant, ever watchful.
My mother loves me. Maybe her love is so encompassing she forgot to leave room to like the person that I am.
My mother loves me.
My mother loves me.
Featured photo by thom masat on Unsplash.