On this day last year my mom died. I'd just come back from Mexico. A much needed vacation. I still felt the sun on my neck. The scent of suntan lotion and spilled rum on my swim suit wafted up to my nose when I unzipped my suitcase. I didn't bother unpacking. I got the news on Facebook. An inbox email from my niece. Inbox. Email. No one bothered to call me.
I was just her seed who had sprouted and floated away from her years ago. More like flicked away. Okay plucked is better. I was plucked. Ripe for picking. I was adoption produce. Young and tender. Separated from her milk, her laughter, failures and darkness and light. Until I searched for her. Reunited because of God’s grace, my will, desperation and nosiness.
I dared to want to learn her, see her in me. It was no fairytale. When we hugged I still felt the distance and so did she. The gap was never closed. We laughed, connected and broke apart many times over the years. We had some special moments, but most of them occurred over the phone. My mother was mostly sound waves. A voice I still hear from time to time. Especially today. I hear her in raps speaking to me. She loved hip hop. She thought the saggy jeans were atrocious, but appreciated the bling. We both like shiny things. Odella was fifteen for years. Trapped in a time space that seemed to define her. But her final acts were wise. I thank her for them. For honoring me in the ways she felt would be most meaningful. I just wish they hadn’t had to happen after she was gone.
My heart isn’t as heavy as it was last year. I still miss her, but I have accepted the fact that she’s gone. She doesn’t come to me like my dad (who raised me) did when he passed. She’s just as mysterious now as she was when she was here. Perhaps I will get to know her better later on.