The rain slaps against the coffee shop window. I tap my shoe to the rhythm of the second hand on the clock as I think about everything I need to say. For the past fifteen years, I yearned for a mother who I could share everything with. Now that she is ten minutes away, do I really want to tell her absolutely everything or nothing at all. I think about everything she’s missed: the first tooth I lost, my first violin recital, my first broken bone in eighth grade, and my first broken heart in tenth. I’m so nervous that when my coffee arrives I drink it without thinking. It burns as it slides down my throat but, I welcome the distraction from the rising anxiety in my chest.
I’ve often wondered about my mother. Ever since I’ve been able to recall, I have been told of my uncanny resemblance to her. I often think about this supposed resemblance, and if they mean in our appearance or our actions. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure which I’d prefer. I never thought I’d get the chance to find out, or want to find out. And here, in this mediocre coffee shop, with its incredibly mediocre-bordering-on-bad coffee, I am finally going to meet her. Or, I guess, be reunited with her. But it’s hard to really get to know someone when you’re five—especially when you aren’t expecting them to leave.
What I do remember is limited. I remember her hair being dark brown, straight, and very shiny. I remember the strong smell of some flower, probably from a cheaply made perfume. I hear she used to take days off to spend with me, and I remember driving up to a lake with her and getting stuck on a big rocky hill. I can recall the tiny sandwiches, how she would always cut them into triangles because they ‘always felt fancier than rectangles’. And I guess we’d sit and eat, or walk around, whatever 5 year olds do with their soon-to-be estranged mothers. That’s the last memory I have of her.
The bell of the coffee shop rings, pulling me out of my trance. Standing on the cafe steps is only an elderly man, holding a box of pastries about to brave the rain. As the door closes, thoughts consumed by fear and anxiety swarm my mind once again. My heart pumps so fast like it could stop in my chest at any moment. What are the right words to say? Will we get along? What if she can’t even pick me out of a crowd? What if she isn’t worth defending? It it too late to leave?
The bell rings again, and I look up. Soaking wet standing in the doorway is a woman, her straight hair gleams under the fluorescent lights. Though I haven’t seen her in years, I can tell it’s my mother. She lifts her hand to a wave— a peace offering, suddenly the lump in my throat subsides as I replicate the gesture.