She walked through the door spryly, loud and ignorant in her actions. Her mother is in the kitchen, waiting, listening. There is no recognition, no hello. She knows her mother is there, she knows her mother knows she is home – after 17 years casualties are no longer necessary.
She walks by the kitchen into the sun room. Her mother chews on her lip, an old habit that stirs when sadness takes over. The daughter walks back in and stands at the island, studying her mother.
She was making a beet salad, it was colourful and left bright translucent purple dye smeared on the edges of the round glass bowl. The kitchen smelled like earth and lemon. The daughter watched intently, on the brink of walking away but excited for every new ingredient that was dropped with careless perfection into the bowl, slowly filling. Every grate of beet was fascinating.
The mother was too aware of the daughter, a precious moment. The silence was heavy. She finished the salad. The daughter stood at the island with a still precaution, waiting for her mother to put the salad away, for the moment to pass. With the bowl in hand, the mother turned. Before walking to the fridge she opened her mouth, slowly and unsure of what to say, but wanting to keep the attention of her daughter. The daughter saw this cue, had been waiting like a deer in headlights for the moment to be broken. Without a word and with spite in her eyes for her mother ruining the peace and tension of the moment, turned and walked out of the kitchen.
The mother stood still, her head lowered slowly as she listened to the slight squeal of the bottom of her daughter shoes on the floor, listening for the door to slam again. A shiver ran through the mother’s body; a shiver that started in her mind and continued down, tensing every muscle; a shiver that was befriended by a shallow sob. It reverberated through the bowl in her hands, which slowly slipped. It fell faster than her tear, shattering on the cold floor. She felt like Queen Elizabeth I’s mother, executed from a part of her daughter’s life. Sinking to her knees she sat with the disaster, the distilled purple of the beet salad dying the knees of her pants, and shards of glass trying to make it past the thick jean to cut her shallow skin. She felt infantile, overwhelmed.