Yesterday's story has a second part to it. I wasn't going to write it, but it's the part that means the most.
We were staying on a farm next door to the rich family's mansion. It was a long way next door, through fields and over a little river. A few days after our visit, my mother called me from my book with a basket of freshly picked apples. I had to take them to Jimmy's mother with a thank-you note. I made the mistake of saying I didn't want to. "Do you think I want to cook your dinner and wash your clothes and clean up after you? Do you think I want to go to work every day to pay for your nice clothes?" My mother once started, doesn't stop easily. I bristled with self-pity. In and out, I thought. I pictured it. I'd knock, Jimmy's mother would come, I'd hand her the apples. I'd leave. it would be simple, it would be okay. Maybe it would have been. But I arrived at a bad time.
It was Jimmy who opened the front door. Several plump friends in tow. "Mom! Tui's here for my birthday party!" "N...no," I choked. "I'm just bringing these apples for your mom. I have to go RIGHT BACK." Jimmy's mom quickly appeared. "Of course you don't have to go right back. Stay and play with the children." "I'm not allowed." I said, my face turning red and hot tears building up behind my eyes. Jimmy's mom kept pushing. "Come on, Tui. I'm going to call your mother." Inside I groaned, I'd be caught. Of course my mother would let me. Jimmy's mother led me into the study, Jimmy followed with his friends.
The all-boy party was excited by the girl. They all wanted me to stay. Jimmy's mother put on her glasses and read our number off the thank-you note. The phone rang and rang. There wasn't an answer! My mother must have been in the garden. My whole body relaxed. "Oh well, goodbye then," I said, backing towards the door. "No, no" Jimmy's mother replied firmly, "you can't go home if no one's there." She'd won. I felt like stabbing her in her over-powdered, flaccid, puffy face. She smelt of perfume, not like my mother's, heavier and thicker. Overpowering.
Her eyes were small and sharp. She dialled the number again. This time my mother answered. Jimmy's mother thanked her for the apples... and said Jimmy was having a wonderful party... and Tui was "dying to stay." I glowered at the floor. Usually my mother would say yes right away. But today was different. "Your mother wants to talk to you," she handed me the phone. I looked up, surprised. Everyone in the room was suddenly quiet. They all watched me say hello. "Do you want to stay Tui?" My mother asked softly. Our fight had been forgotten. Everyone craned forward. "No! That's not fair!" I said, pretending to be arguing with her.
Jimmy's mother took the phone back. She seemed shocked at what my mother said. "Are you sure..? But she wants to stay SO badly..." Finally she hung up. "Sorry Jimmy, Tui's not allowed. Her mother said she has to come home at once."
I knew then, and I remember it now, how special my mother is. And how she's part of me like no one else is. This story is the closest I can get to explaining it. Her intuition. How safe she makes me feel. Maybe that's why I have a recurring nightmare- that she finds out who I really am, and I lose her.