I am highlighting a short story from my book Bitter.
All About My Mother
By Bissme S
You are too beautiful to belong to one man.You should become a prostitute.
The first time I heard those words, I was only thirteen.I was having a dinner with my parents in a restaurant. A tall man in a blue jacket sat at the table next to us.The tall man in the blue jacket had been staring at my mother from the moment we entered the restaurant. When we finished our dinner, the tall man in the blue jacket stood up and approached our table. Looking at my mother, he said: "You are too beautiful to belong to one man. You should become a prostitute."
There was complete silence at our table. None of us knew what to say to him. We just stared at him.
The man in the blue jacket had big smile on his face. Slowly, he turned around and walked out of the restaurant, laughing loudly.
After the strange incident in the restaurant, our lives were never the same again. My mother stopped being a wife. My mother stopped being a mother. My mother abandoned us. My mother became a prostitute.
“Nobody loves her the way I love her. My love will bring her back,” my father said.
My father worshipped the ground that my mother walked on. My father said: “She was my first love and I was her first love. Nobody forgets their first love. Your mother will come home. She will become a better mother to you and a better wife to me.”
My father became a religious man. Every day, he begged the son of God to bring back the woman he loves into his life again. In the past, my father believed all religions was manmade.
“Jesus is Santa Claus for adults,” he used to say.
He loved making fun of God, Jesus and religious people in general. Not anymore. He said: “God has been kind to me. God blessed my life with so much happiness and love. But I was ungrateful. I abandoned God. I made jokes out of him. And God punished me. God made my wife abandon me. God wanted me to feel the pain that God felt when I abandoned Him.But now I am repenting my sins. One day, God will forgive me. God will make your mother stand in front of our doorstep with her two suitcases, begging for forgiveness.I will forgive her the same way God had forgiven me. We will be one happy family again.”
My father has no doubt that God will give him a happy ending. As for me, I am totally convinced that God is obsessed with sad endings.
Twenty years have passed. My mother has not returned home. The doctors have found cancer in my father. His days on earth are numbered. My father said: “I want to die in the arms of your mother, the woman I love. I must pray harder so God will fulfil my last wish.”
All of our friends and relatives had given up hope that my mother will return home. Not my father.
“I have faith in God,” he said.
“God is not cruel. God will not let me die with a broken heart.”
Out of the blue, to everyone surprise, my father’s prayers were answered. My mother was standing in front of our house door, with her two suitcases. My mother had tears of regret.She begged for forgiveness. My father did not waste any time. He immediately hugged the woman he loves with all his heart. He said: “I forgive you. The past is the past. Do not talk about the past. Let us start a fresh life with a clean slate.”
My father’s dream came true. Thirteen months later, my father died in the arms of the woman he loves. Before dying, my father said to me: “I told you that God is not cruel...God is great...God performed a miracle...God did not let me die with a broken heart.”
But God was cruel. God was not great.God did not perform any miracles. God did absolutely nothing. God is just stood there like some useless statue and silently watched my father in misery.
I went to see my mother. “I want to hire you.”
That was my first sentence to my mother who I had not seen for two decades. She was still a prostitute and a proud owner of a brothel.
I told my mother about my father’s illness. I said: “His last wish is to die in your arms. I want to hire you to play the good wife to my father. Make my father a happy man before he dies.”
“I can only love a man if I get paid and my services are not cheap,” my mother said.
“I will pay whatever you want. My father must never know that I hired you. You must convince my father that you came home on your own accord, feeling regret over what you have done,” I said.
A week later, my mother was in front of the doorstep of our house with her two suitcases. She had tears of regret....
The money I spent on my mother was worth it. My mother played the part of the good wife brilliantly. She brought back happiness, love and laughter into my father’s life. My father died with a smile on his face. My father did not have a clue that everything my mother did was a charade.
The moment my father was buried, my mother started packing her suitcases. She was ready to go back to her old life.
“You are leaving so soon,” I asked.
“My job is done here,” my mother answered.
I said: “You could stay if you want. I will pay you to be my mother.”
She stared at me for the longest time. She said: “I can play any role my client wants except a mother. I do not think I will make a good mother.”
I was furious. I was angry. I did not expect my mother would refuse my offer to be my mother. I shouted: “Mother, tell me why you abandoned my father? Why did you choose to abandon your son? Why did you choose the filthy road that you had chosen?”
Calmly, my mother took my hands in hers and gently kissed them. Looking into my eyes, my mother said: “When a girl is born, everyone teaches her to be a good daughter...To be a good wife...To be a good mother. But what if she doesn’t want to be a good daughter? What if she doesn't want to be a good wife? What if she doesn't want to be good mother? What if she doesn't want to be good? Do you think a woman has a choice not to be good?”
I did not have any answer for her.There was long silence between us. Then, slowly, she kissed my cheeks and whispered into my ears: “Not all women want to be good. Some women are born to be a woman with no morals."
Carrying her suitcases in each hand, my mother slowly walked out of the house. ( To read more grab a copy of Bitter)