The Moya View

Mothers and Daughters: A Bee in Her Bonnet

Image credit: Noelle McLeaf.

Amongst the leftovers she would sit in the old shed, 
with its corrugated tin roof and clapboard siding,
feeling the heat come to her, a caress floating from the ground. She watched her mother delicately
flour the last of the catfish.

The shed use to be a playground but now it was a hideout- somewhere to sit with the unframed large oval portrait of her grandmother in a black dress,
her hair pinned up in a widow’s bun amongst a green landscape, looking to an unknown horizon. Within reach, sharing her space, where other abandon objects: a rusty anvil, broken saddle, a set of dusty dumb weights. Now leaning against the back wall was the ladder she once used to climb to the roof to watch the sky and earth kiss the gray shadows walking by, stirring clouds of brown dust.

An orange fell from the tree nearby. She picked it up and nonchalantly sat back down. She stuck her thumb
in the fruit’s navel, peeled it and ate it, the sour sweetness stung her in rebuke. The juice trickled onto her hands, the hem of her flower dress, onto her right knee, slid down to her thigh, smearing her panties in a pulpy, sticky mess. She stood up, removed her panties, using them in a half successful attempt to dry herself. The pulp residue left her feeling tacky, her whole body an exposed icky mess.

She needed a shower and tried to think of a way to explain her current dirtiness to her mother. Then, she noticed her mother staring out the window, and knew, she had been watching her all along.

Once, when her father was alive, such immodesty would have enlisted a look of shame from her mother.
Now, they had grown comfortable with each other and their bodies. The brief common nudity that came with living in a one bath house was now just a welcome freeing fact.

Bras were only worn during visits to the city. Often she would watch her mother remove her nightgown under the drape of night and sleepwalk beyond the house, the shed, almost beyond her sight to the edge of the forest, urged on by a whispering only she could hear and understand. There, her natural and plump
body was adored by the hooting owl, the deer feasting on the tall grass gathered in her hands, the flora that kissed her feet, calves and thighs, the wildflowers that yielded themselves to create her verdant golden crown every night, the morning dew that suckled her spreading breasts and dribbled her nourishment to the ever thirsty, welcoming earth beneath her feet.

And under her mother’s studied gaze she knew the only thing to do was to fully expose herself. So she removed her flower dress and threw it behind her. It landed half over the anvil and broken saddle. Her earthy body shone brilliant in the light.

Her mother smiled, took the catfish off the burner and
turned the stove off. She stood and removed her white gown, tossed it out the window. It fluttered upwards beyond the house, drifted backwards and settled in the mud of the dirt road just beyond the
Pickett fence. She stood in the front doorway,
caressed her breasts in her hands, knowing her daughter would see them fully and compare them to her own.

And she did. Hers were smaller, firmer, the nipples flatter, aureoles splotched like the lunar surface. The boys she knew thought they were beautiful because they cupped so easily in their hands, existed in that awkward perfection between childhood and adult bloom.

Yet, she felt ashamed of them. It may have been because boys lusted for them so much that everything around them became unfocused and unimportant. She resented being a thing, a possession. She wanted them to spread, fall like her mothers. She wanted the validation of her natural being and only the forest could do that wholeheartedly, providing that restless dream of union with the earth, the wild things all around, even if just briefly.

From the forest, cicadas and the frogs crooned the oncoming dawn. Her mother had closed her eyes and was swooning to their music, the sounds of hidden other wild things calling her homeward once again.

She also closed her eyes and also heard the outer edge of the forest trill its existence in hidden delight. In front, interrupting the revery, jarring her eyes open, was the chatter of a distant pickup truck hitting loudly each bump in the road, and further away, construction noise. She knew then, she was not ready to see what her mother knew, hear the things that had serenaded her a thousand times over.

She started to cry, and when her mother beckoned her over, she ran to her and collapsed in her embrace. Her head rested comfortably in her breasts. And when the weight of their embrace forced an awkward sit down on the front porch steps, they still held tight to each other.

She felt the need to sleep, dream. She closed her eyes, breathing slowly, resting her head on her mother’s right knee. She felt the comfort of her mother gently stroking her hair— falling gently into the sleep- into the cooing dark ahead. The last thing she knew before it all finally came, was the caress of a robin cradling itself in her cupped hands.





One response to “Mothers and Daughters: A Bee in Her Bonnet”

  1. caroline46 Avatar

    Holy cow this is Fabulous on every level

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