It's strange that nobody ever speaks about mother's handicap, not that I especially want to talk about it. But it's true that, only a little while ago at the table, I was looking at her and saying to myself "it's crazy" that this woman who brought me into the world looks at me with the eyes of a little girl.
When I look at my mother I don't see her as I do in my dreams.
Mother is 40. I can't recall the name of her sickness. Besides, I don't even know if it really is a sickness. I don't think we've ever spoken about it. I don't even know whether it was daddy who told us the name of the sickness or whether we got it from somewhere else.
On Sunday mornings when we go to church in the yavish community to listen to my father's sermon, he always asks my mother to sit in the first row so that everyone can see her. Or perhaps he does so for himself so that he can see mother's thighs in her flower-patterned dress. It's strange. We always did things this way.
Mother speaks like a child. But I believe she realizes that she's not like other people. When she takes a stroll, the tramp at the end of the road whistles at her when she passes by. But she doesn't seem to be aware of it. My mother is beautiful. Her flowery dress seems to float around her. People say that mummy and daddy make a beautiful couple. But they don't know that daddy sometimes shouts. Once when I was tiny I remember mother saying something about God, perhaps a swear word or something like that, without her realizing it. Daddy didn't like it at all and he slapped her so hard on the face that she fell from her chair. She landed on her bottom and, as she sat like that on the kitchen floor, I for the first time found that she looked just like a fragile little girl. I would have liked my mother to have been my sister, just to introduce her to my friends, nice boys, not fellows like my father.
In the village, during the 1980s, everyone knew young Councha with her long brown hair flowing down her shapely neck. She was said to be the most beautiful girl in the region. My father still speaks about her when he drinks beer while watching football on television with his friends. A very good looking guy bulging with muscles often came to collect Councha on his purring Harley Davidson, and they both went off to the seaside to try and catch the sunset. Councha wanted to become a real lady. Everyone knew full well that she would become a great lady, a lawyer or a doctor perhaps, because she was so intelligent. And she was truly beautiful. When father talks about her he says she was really "incredibly shapely". But coming from such a lousy family, how could she be so intelligent and beautiful?
One day, her friend with the Harley came to pick her up. They were deeply in love. He was also promised a brilliant future. To celebrate their love and their pre-destined brilliant futures, they raced off to the beach, the Harley motor humming away until the moment it rammed into my father's CX which had run a red light. Councha flew into the air, her head smashed by the car's front bumper. As for her lover, his muscled body parts were scattered near and far. He could only be identified through dental prints. Councha remained in a coma for three months. When she woke up the doctors said "she's finished, her brain is gone". Councha's parents were in a severe predicament. They said to my father "Mr vicar, we are very worried. You must understand that we are poor farmers. We would prefer not to press charges against you, but it's true that you did go through a red light". Realizing he was 100% in the wrong, father proposed that no charges be brought and that, in exchange, he would look after Councha. Councha's parents said "Even better, get married to her".
Mother was 20 when she had that stupid accident. What would mother have been like if ... ?