Somehow, my son finds a picture of my mum this week.
It’s all such a long story, and it never really stops.
Despite the fact that I shed people regularly, the way a snake sheds its skin.
“You look just like her!” Django tells me, that laughter in his voice when he knows he’s found a way to dismantle the solid woman I am for him.
“Let me see that,” I say, swiping the picture from his hands.
And I see it, instantly, the way I sometimes hear her when I sigh.
It’s a bizarre thing, to see two identities in one person.
Especially when one is you.
And the other is the stranger that raised you.
On the one hand it’s perhaps flattering, because I find the woman in the picture beautiful.
But on the other hand, I feel confused, stifled.
Our resemblance. How could this be?
As if somehow, there is no escape from her.
“I’m going to take a walk,” I tell my boy. “Do you want to come?”
“It’s the middle of the night, Delilah.”
He tilts his head to the side and looks at me.
I busy myself with finding my jacket, gloves, hat.
“You go,” he allows.
I am aware that this is one of those moments when I’m acting stupid.
Make a note to make fun of myself about it with him later.
Or not. Sometimes moments define themselves better without words.
My mum. I called her once, right before my son was born, meaning to tell her of his upcoming presence.
“Why are you calling me?” she wanted to know. Putting it to me straight.
And I knew right then there was nothing more to say. But I couldn’t think fast enough of a reasonable way to get off the phone.
“I don’t know,” I lied. “I guess I just thought I’d call, you know, because we’re family.”
“You don’t act like family,” she responded.
And she was right. It was an incredibly good point.
But in my own defense, did she?
I mean, not to place blame, but from whom should I have learned family, exactly?
“You are nothing to me,” was what she said next.
“We might be related by blood, Delilah, but blood is not thicker than water.”
This statement has always stuck with me.
Not because it hurt, but because it was so very very stupid.
And even as I started crying, I felt less betrayed by what she was saying than by my own mother’s inability to articulate herself better.
Like as if we were having this very important moment that would define my life for all time, and what was unforgivable about it was that she couldn’t even make it poetic for me.
To this day, I feel disappointed by that line.