Mary Marcus: Portrait of My Imaginary Mother

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momIt’s Mother’s Day and she’s materialized for a visit. She looks younger than when I last saw her and wonderful, like she’s never had a sick day in her life. Her hair is silvery grey and it’s as soft and shiny as a length of silk. And it’s beautifully cut and styled. Maybe she got her face lifted or she’s getting just the best injectible job ever at that great dermatologist in the sky. She’s smiling; her brown almond shaped eyes crinkle at the corners when she smiles at me. The only that hasn’t changed is she’s wearing bright coral lipstick though apparently in the other place, she’s discovered lip-gloss.

Everything I do is just wonderful! She loves my little house, the Buddha at the door, the oil painting above the black cabinet. Henry is the cutest dog she’s ever seen, and so well behaved. And she’s so happy to meet my husband at long last; she’s been watching us from the hereafter, ever since we got married!

Husband looks just bewildered. And I have to say, a little scared. Oy, what if this happens to me, he seems to be saying. Then he goes into the other room.

As it turns out, Mama’s been given special permission from the powers who control such things to return on Mother’s Day, just to say, “Mary, I love you, you were the best daughter, I’m so proud of you for Lavina, and for everything else as well!”

The landline rings. It’s my son on the phone to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. I put her on and the two of them talk for the very first time.

Afterwards, she walks around my house, nodding at this, smiling at that. She picks up a book and says, “didn’t I give you that?”

When it’s time for her to go, she holds out her arms. When I move toward them, she disappears, leaving a lingering smell of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew and a Shubert piano sonata playing in the background.

I stand in my living room basking in the glow of unconditional love and approval from my mother. Imagination is of course, created in childhood. The child lacks, the child imagines it’s a different world, a world created in her own making. If you end up being a writer, this unfortunate habit plagues you for the rest of your life.

My husband reappears carrying the leash. Henry is wagging his tail and jumping up and down if he could talk he’d tell me, I’ll always love you unconditionally.”

If only humans could!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mary Marcus

Mary Marcus is the author of The New Me and the newly released Lavina. Visit her website for more.

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On May 10, 2015
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