Our very own Maureen Riches with her story ‘Another Mother’s Son.’
Entry 2 | Another Mother’s Son | 225 words
‘Are you happy, Mother?’ His arms are extended, slender hands resting lightly on my shoulders.
I catch my breath and look up at the fine young man towering over me, staggered at the generosity that moves him, in his circumstances, to ask if I am happy.
My peripheral vision encompasses the others who hover behind him, surrounding us, waiting their turn to kiss me goodbye. Fine young men all of them, emanating a patient resilience that makes me want to cry.
‘I’d be happy if I could take you…all of you…home with me.’
‘Oh, Mother! Little Mother!’ His broken voice betrays him, the title he gives me a tribute to my grey hairs. The others move closer, murmuring, reaching out to stroke my arms, my hands, my shoulders. ‘Will you come back, Mother?’
‘I will. I will come back.’ I get the words out without choking, forcing smiles for faces from Afghanistan, from Sudan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Serco guard moves up. The young men back away.
No sound so cold, so heavy in my heart, as the clunk of steel deadlocking doors between us.
I blink. No tears in front of this man who holds the next door open and waves me out with such an obsequious show of chivalry.
‘Mother,’ Sanjay had called me.
I will come back.