When you're a mere infant, clasping your mother's fingers, worn and crinkled by the fatigues of time, you don't realize how precious life seems. You just want to feel her silky smooth skin on yours. You just want to know she's there and that she loves you.
Two years pass. You're none the wiser. Your mother, begins to cough. She's a dedicated smoker and you detest the scent of a 'quick fag' late at night. You can plainly see her fingers are yellowing, like pages.
Five years have trickled away. You're eight or nine now, listening to the eerie way the wind rustles the leaves on the trees. That familiar smell of autumn infuses the air, and you're eagerly tapping a stick on each ancient tree as you pass. Your mother follows you like an obedient dog after its master. Her hair, a muddy brown, is astray, flying into her face whenever she least expects it. But still, she persists. After all, she's your mother. Why wouldn't she?
The very day you turn ten, you cast a glance around, snapping the book clutched in your hands shut. Your exhausted mother is deeply asleep in her chair, the innocent expression you only read about in novels etched upon her face. You're an arrogant ten year old, never once considering how lonely or tired she is. You only want her to do the chores and your homework for you.
Mothers' Day, a bitter year on. You're heart-broken, the effort you went to make her a ceramic jar vanquished in seconds. Your father passed away barely three months ago, and you're struggling to keep it together for your wondrous mother. You haven't seen her eyes gleam in weeks. That's why you made the pot. You complained and moaned that it wasn't standing upright for weeks on end, in school, and when it came to firing it, only she had the power to banish your fears. She whispered in your ear: 'blue'. You painted it an elegant blue, anxious about the glaze not glazing properly. But it came out perfect.
So when you brought it home on Mothers' Day, wrapped up, a card attached, you weren't expecting the sight of her standing in the kitchen, her hands trembling. You tried not to cry, worried. What was going on? Why was she so upset?
But she never told you.
The years turn, like pages flicking in the wind. The long dreary days trudge past, and the days where everything doesn't seem so bleak race past in rapid strides. You barely have cause to smile anymore. Your mother grows weaker by the day, her voice already feeble, her hair as white as a ghost, her once beautiful face gaunt and her fingers barely facsimiles of spiders' legs.
You're fourteen. So young, so foolish and so brave. You want to conquer the world. Of course you do. You're a teenager, all these raging hormones snatching control for wild hours.
You meet a boy.
He leaves eventually.
And you're so-
Only your can comfort you. Tell you there's plenty more fish in the sea. You murmur: "But not like him." You sit beside her day after day whilst she croaks out words of comfort in her hospital bed.
She is comforting you. You should be comforting her. That's what society dictates.
Fourteen years, six months and one day, she slips away, leaving you alone, with haunting memories. You now realize life is so precious. But you can't accept she's not there anymore. You grieve. You cry. You sit on her graveside day after day, bringing her blue flowers. Blue things. And you cry, always do, when it's a beautiful day, when the sky's blue. You can't bear to see the sea.
Or his blue eyes.
I'm telling you now. Remember this, things always get better. No matter how young or antiquarian you are. That's what they say. They've always said that.