Monday, 20 June 2022

'Love Notes From My Mother aka Why I Hate Strawberries & Cream' By Davena O'Neill


You left a note every day.

On the kitchen table, cleared after baking, one small flour covered corner, a perfect heart in its centre. You are awesome, in rainbow colours on the chalkboard. On the glass, after bath time, steam covered and dripping, a smiley face, or HI!

Letters on the fridge spelled I love you. It’s nearly home time, on a scrap of paper, pressed between pages of a schoolbook. It was always what I needed, something silly, or sweet. I saw your face and perfect hands, knew you sealed it with a kiss.

SMILE, printed on tissue paper. Sweet dreams, written in stars, left on the pillow. I saved all the ones I could, placed them in a box by the bed. You ran your hand along it and smiled. Said we’d have to get a bigger box as I got older.

But we didn’t need to. The box was big enough.

The last note was a treat for me to enjoy while you ran to the corner shop. A strawberry heart with a whipped cream smile. I had licked the plate clean, then vomited after I heard, pink and red running like blood down the kitchen sink.

As you lay broken beneath twisted steel, I had drawn a picture of us dancing. Oversized smiles on oversized faces, hands and feet tangled so that we seemed to move as one. It was intended as a thank you, became a parting gift, lying with you now between fingers entwined.