“Your Mother” originally aired on ifitsnotonethingitsyourmother Podcast.
The apartment is abandoned, but the essence of their presence lingers. They took with them the most important artifacts and left the rest to collect dust. Old CDs, relics from trips, clothing, paperwork, memories from their past lives, each one savoring nothing that once held them together except for their one common interest, their children.
Weekly you find yourself interacting with one of them. Your mother will stroll through the front door, remark about the mess you’ve made. She is used to it, but she is done cleaning up after you. She drops her things off by the door, when before she would have carried them into her bedroom. You can see a little disdain in her face, but she does not comment. She doesn’t love coming back, but she does it for you because you are not comfortable with her new living arrangements.
Swinging into the kitchen, you put the teapot on and ask her what she wants to drink. There is an odd feeling, playing hostess for her in the apartment that you once shared. She offers to go out for coffee instead. You get dressed and make your way outside. The seasons are finally changing, and the sun warms up your face. You both pull out cigarettes as you walk and make casual conversation. During coffee, you talk logistics. Bills need to be paid. She asks about your father. You don’t mention the new woman in his life and casually bring up that he is out of town. She doesn’t push the questions further.
On the way back you ask her to teach you how to make a Spanish pie, one of her specialties. Ordering food and going out has become the norm, and you miss a home-cooked meal. You stop at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. When it comes to paying at the counter, you pull out your credit card. She isn’t making money. It’s a strange transaction. You take the heavy bags and walk the few blocks home.
She asks you if you want to watch something. Both of you still keep up with the shows you once watched together. There isn’t anything new to see, so you put on a rerun of an old favorite, and that’s how you spend the remainder of your time together.
When it gets late, you tell her you’re going to bed. It’s a one-bedroom apartment, so you’ve taken the room that used to be theirs. The bed that they once used to share. She sighs as you go into the room. You’ve taken over her side of the bed, and she knows it but doesn’t comment. Several hours later you feel her crawl into bed, on the side your father slept on, and you both have a restless night’s sleep.
In the morning she rummages through her old closet, finds the few shelves that are still not occupied with your belongings, and pulls out something old to wear. You make a pot of tea, and the two of you go through the mail together, and then she is ready to leave. “It’s sad we didn’t get a chance to talk,” she says.