by Kimberly Owen
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be like my mother. When I was a child, she’d always take the time to answer any question my budding imagination could dream up. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she never once made me feel like I was being a pain or getting on her nerves, even though, I’m pretty sure, there were countless times when this was the case.
She always smelled of cinnamon and apples. Her crumbles were the talk of the country fair and she always came first place, much to the chagrin of old Mrs. Eccles from number 72. How she hated coming second, but second was all anyone could ever hope to come to my mother. In my eyes, at least.
Her hair, soft and golden, fell almost to her waist and it tickled my belly whenever she dried me after my Sunday night baths. I’d laugh and gently push her hair away, but secretly I loved it. Her hands weren’t soft in the same way as her hair. She spent too long with them in the hot dishwater or buried in the garden soil where she planted the most beautiful flowers for them to be soft, but I loved the rough texture of them when she stroked my cheek and told me what a good boy I’d been. I lived for those moments.
All through my childhood and long into my adult life, she helped anyone in need. She could never walk past a homeless person on the street, tears formed in her eyes whenever one of those adverts depicting starving children came on the television and more often than not, she’d reach for the phone and call the number on the screen. If a neighbour needed anything, my mother would be the first one on the street to offer it. No one had ever had a bone to pick with her, except maybe for Mrs. Eccles, and even then there’d be no malice. Mrs. Eccles just epitomised a sore loser. My mother, ever the rose-tinted spectacle wearer, laughed whenever Mrs. Eccles gave her a dirty look over the back fence.
If there’s one thing I’ll remember most fondly about my darling mother, who I always emulated and strived to be just like, it’s the little phrases she had for every occasion. She had untold amounts just locked away waiting for the perfect opportunity to come out. If I left the door open behind me, I’d get the age-old, ‘Were you born in a barn?’ and if I left the room without turning the light off, ‘It’s like Blackpool illuminations in this house.’ That one always made me giggle. Not to her face though. I’ve never been that silly.
My favourite saying of hers though was the one she trotted out whenever I didn’t want to eat my vegetables – ‘You are what you eat.’ That’s a good one, isn’t it? You are what you eat. I hope she was telling the truth about that one because if she wasn’t, I cooked her and ate her for nothing.
I’ve always wanted to be like my mother.
Kimberly Owen is a new author from Wales in the United Kingdom. Her stories have appeared in print magazines, as well as in online literary journals.