Crooked Smiling

She used to sing me to sleep.

In the sweet by and by
we shall meet on that beautiful shore.

Her voice was sweet. Like that song and on its tune and my eyes would close and I would float on her voice and be carried into sleep. Carried into sweet dreams.

Those were the days I trusted her and everything her sweet lips told me.

I sit on a stool and stare into the hollow house as scenes reeled before my eyes of the times we had.

There was that wall over there where little bobby hit his forehead while running away from the cat. It was a little game we played and we got a little too excited. The tiger was coming, Bobby was two, over excited of course and hit his head on the wall. He bled and needed two stitches and for us it was such a bad thing because parents who let their kids bleed were neglectful. Bad parents. That was what she told me. I believed her and so for the longest time I believed I was a bad parent.

Then there was that fight between Mark and I. A huge fight and I drove home only to be sent back here again. She would not have it. Good wives do not leave their husbands that way. I needed to bear my responsibilities. But that was the thing I felt, she never once fought for me. Never. And I trusted her.

In the sweet by and by
we shall meet on that beautiful shore

Maybe. Maybe we shall.

She always brought food over, and filled my pantry no matter what and I thought of the sweet conversations often we had.

“What is love mummy?”

“Love is when you want the best for the other person no matter what.”

“I know mummy, I know you love me. But I mean like what is love between a boy and a girl?”

“Why, are you in love?”

“I don’t know?”

“Well honey, love is a pair of pink goggles that make everything look so pretty.”

I laughed.

“But love is also the pink goggles you put on when things are ugly, and the person shows you the worse of himself so that everything still looks pretty anyway.”

“I love you mummy.”

And then there was a sweet chill and I knew there she was, right there in the stool next to me.

“I love you mummy” I whispered into the space.

And I thought I heard her say it back, “I love you too sweetie pie.”

Then my tears streamed and for the first time in months, I managed to cry.

“Mandy dear don’t cry.”

“But I can’t help it.”

“Well whenever you want to cry try and smile.”

I turned to face the husband and kids as they walk in, and when he turned the lights on I tried my very best to smile.

He smiled back and kissed my cheek.

“That is the best crooked smile I have ever seen.”

It broke into a laugh.

It was time to leave this old house for the ones that would make it new again.

“You are the best mom ever,” I whispered into the wind.