Mother Here I Come

At times, his life felt like someone else's. As though he simply phased from moment to moment. A leaf in the stream that was carried by the current. He kept his head down and stayed out of trouble. His mother always said, "There's no reason to kick up a fuss about yourself unless you are Jesus, and even then..." His mother was highly critical of him. Never letting him fault or waver on his narrow path toward salvation. Knees bruised and cratered by grains of rice. Soap on his tongue. Belt lashes across his behind. His mother guaranteed salvation by whatever means necessary. You must never speak the Lord's name in vain. Laughing in church again? You're surely going to hell now. What's this talk of girls? Must you always insist on dressing like a delinquent? God didn't put you on this earth for all that nonsense. WHAT is that noise? That right there is devil's music. All the lessons he was taught? "God" help him if he dared step out of line.

That's exactly why he ran. As far from the church as possible. He saw how it crippled his mother's mental state—the way it essentially became her whole life. The crucifix adorned every corner of the house. A Bible could be found in every nook and cranny. A makeshift altar was draped in rosaries and covered in framed portraits of the Virgin Mary. No room for toys or technology. Even his home was a Church. It was a cult. But she never saw it as such, so she never questioned it. Even in her last days, she opted for spiritual healing rather than modern medicine. Since then, he constantly reminds himself that it was her choice. Not his fault. She chose to pray the tumors away. She chose that. She chose that. She. Chose. That. It was no longer his problem.

That's why he's boarding the plane now. To get away from it all. Away from everything that reminds him of her. But even here, he can't find solitude. Her words fill his head: I remember my first plane trip. The ascension into the sky felt as though God himself scooped me off the ground and baptized me in the clouds, cleansing my spirit and aiding in my rebirth—giving my life new meaning. That's when I felt it. Your first kick. That's how I knew I was doing the right thing. You were my second chance. That was all she ever believed—that she was doing the right thing. His mother never accepted fault. And always chalked all of life's problems up to "God's plan."

Now walking down the aisles, he steadies himself on the seats. As he sits down, tears brim in his eyes, clouding his view out the window. Seat belt buckling. Breath shaking. The plan takes off. Rising higher and higher, he searches his mind to find what she could have possibly seen. What was it about this view that changed the course of her life? And in turn, cursed his? There was nothing. No one. No rhyme or reason for any of this meaningless existence that plagues him. Where is your God now? He feels for the wires zig-zagging on his chest under his shirt. Inhaling, he places his finger on the switch. "Mother here I come."

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