I've been scrolling Facebook, and being touched and amazed by people's tributes to their mothers. Just so you're not overwhelmed by roses and sweet poems, I thought I'd tell you a story about a gloomy day, me and my mother.
We were living in a big old house outside of Halifax, which we could only afford because the well was wonky, and the electricity not too reliable either. That would make me 12 and my mother 34, which just seems too amazing to have ever been true . By this time, we were a family of five kids, 2 girls and 3 boys, all tired of moving as we'd already been in 5 different "homes" that year, and all of the others at least 5 years younger than me, making me 3rd in charge. If you knew my family, you'd know that really meant that I told the stories at night time, got the kids settled at the table and was counted on to be a good example. I was really good at the stories.
On this particular day, the "kids" were in bed already, and I was getting ready to go up to the girls' room, where I could read if my sister kept the covers over her head. I was a champion reader and devoured every book I came in contact with that I assumed The Church hadn't banned. We always had books around, but they were either library books or Readers Digest Condensed Novels which one of my mother's sisters read and sent on to us---which actually meant I had access to a lot of the classics and some works that were far more mature than their titles let on.
Thinking about one I had just read, I was going up the dark staircase just ahead of my mother, when I surprised myself by asking, "Mum, is there such a thing as vampires?"
I have no idea what she actually said, or even if she answered, because in my head, I turned around to see her grinning at me, fangs exposed and a pale green tint hovering over her, saying, in a voice I'd never heard, "Of course, my dear...."
It was such a vivid and disturbing experience that I couldn't even tell her about it until I was in my 20s. When I did, she seemed a little hurt, and I regretted indulging myself. Then she just turned her head a little, her lips moving up to expose those fangs, and said in that exact same voice, "I always regretted that."