Mum

My mum used to be such an angry woman, with dark moods and a frustrated temper.  She always had an eighties perm and a frown on her face.

Mum seemed to be in the kitchen for what seemed to be my entire childhood, making a mess and a fuss over the simplest of meals.  I remember the smell of the ironing and the huge pile of dad's shirts and our school uniforms.  She would set herself up in the corner of the kitchen, the iron hissing as she stared into the surrendered fabric.

When she was sitting in 'her' chair watching TV I knew I had to be quiet.  If I spoke to her she told me to sshhhhh!  I told my friends at school that my mum didn't like me. I could never understand their reaction when they said that of course she liked me.  'No, she really doesn't' I would reply, confused that they would say that when they hadn’t even met her.

My mum never attempted anything more daring than a tweed skirt and British Home Stores' blouse.  I resented her for not being as cool as the other mums.  I remember her picking me up from school once with an even tighter perm and I cried all the way home.

I don't remember much more of my childhood but that’s just because nothing happened.  We stayed indoors.  My mum being quiet and furious and me bossing my brother around; blackmailing him to do as I’d say otherwise I'd tell mum that he called 'The Shoe People' The Shit People.  I had a whole arsenal of blackmail stories – and the power was all mine.

My dad would come home wobbly and loud telling us stories about talking dogs.  My brother and I would giggle childishly and ask for more stories, relieved that he was home.  My mum scowled and told us off for encouraging him.

As I got older my mum grew smaller and plumper.  She changed.  She started to smile.  We sometimes mucked around together making cartoon voices and taking the piss out of my dads friends or people on the telly.  The older I got the more relaxed we were with each other.  I remember thinking that she liked me. 

When I left home I would phone her for no reason.  She was excited to hear about what I was getting up to.  I would tell her about drunken nights out and people I’d met - she would giggle like a teenager.  When I went to uni my mum proudly announced that I didn’t need a man in my life.  She decided that I probably wouldn’t have kids and instead I would be a ‘career girl’.  

We speak less now but that’s just life.  I don’t recognise the woman I grew up with.  She stopped me from getting to know her.  Eventually she told me the reason why.  I told her that I knew.  I had made a point of working it out for myself.

www.katfoxley.com

 

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