From Jester To King XCIX
By Simon Barget
They say a mother’s love knows no bounds but I have reason to doubt this. One occasion springs to mind, one I’ll never forget and one I don’t think I can forgive her for. To this day I can’t work out what she was up to, what accounted for her behaviour. We were all at home and the Mirzas were round and then I think some other friends of the family too, and I was playing with Cheryl, going from room to room, running around the house, but even as I did, I had this pre-sentiment that something was up, something was going to happen, that there could well be fireworks. Perhaps this is just my hindsight speaking, I don’t know. But as Cheryl and I were playing, and the other children too, gallivanting around the landing, I started to feel that Cheryl was ignoring me, and then I don’t know whether she started to outright tease me, but I started to feel like an outsider to the group, and then I got it into my head that this type of thing always happens, that I need to take stock of my feelings, but just as I do, just as I try to re-evaluate where I am, Cheryl and the other kids fly past and they say something really hurtful, or they just laugh at me, right in my face, and they can all see I’m hurt and I can’t understand why they would bother sticking the knife in when I’ve waved the white flag. Within seconds the hurt turns to anger, the anger is a hot mix of indignation, I tended to stamp my foot a lot in my tantrums, and although I should have probably taken my revenge on the children, on Cheryl, I figure that the best way of dealing with it is going off to my mother and getting her to settle it. I was certain that if I went to my mother and told her what had happened she’d tell me how right I was, how I deserved better, how badly I’d been treated and then I’d take her words as read and feel that justice had been meted out and we could move on.
My mother would assuage all my anger.
But finding her wasn’t easy. I mean our house wasn’t huge and there were only one or two places that she could have been in, and I’m going from room to room and then a couple of times Cheryl and the kids fly by, mainly oblivious to me by now, but I still feel hurt well up at the sight of them, and by now I am shouting and screaming to attract my mother’s attention wherever she is. And then it dawns on me. I can’t find my mother not because she’s difficult to find but because she’s trying to get away from me. And somehow as soon as I realise this, I do catch sight of her in the office, only the very side of her and not her whole body, and far from being receptive and sympathetic, I see her hiding this slight smirk, but get this, as I come closer, she starts moving away from me, I will never forget this, and no it wasn’t a game, no that wasn’t why she was grinning, she could see how distressed I was, and just as I’m about to get close enough to vent my rage and ask for her judgement, she just moves out of the office and I am now actually chasing my mother round the house, sobbing and mewling, this righteous anger growing ever stronger, to try and get her to make amends. I know the Mirzas are around, I can hear them somewhere but not see them, and my own mother is trying to get away from comforting her own child and I cannot for the life of me work out why.
By this time I am screaming at the top of my lungs, and any possibility that the Mirzas have not cottoned on to it has gone out the window. And as I go onto the top-floor landing round into the bedrooms, dashing in to try to catch my mother unawares, it starts to sink in that my mother doesn’t love me, and the stronger this feeling, the more desperate I am to find her and confront her with it, make it known that I’m wise to it so she can’t hurt me anymore. But far from really wanting her to admit that she doesn’t love me, what I really want is for her to come forward and grab me, show me how deeply she cares, because it’s not so much the words but her physical reluctance which appears to speak volumes. And for what seems like hours, I am trudging about the house with no sight of anyone let alone my mother, feeling spurned and cast out, until I decide to look in my mother’s bedroom, and no one is in there, but as I go further in to her ensuite bathroom, lo and behold there she is, sitting in the bathtub with all the Mirzas beside her, as if they’ve been in the midst of discussing everything under the sun bar how much her son has been wronged and I am screaming that she has let me down and that she doesn’t love me, that they have all done me wrong, and she doesn’t move an inch and I can remember the Mirzas just looking at me quizzically, certainly not even really daunted by my performance, and it is clear that my mother has absolutely no intention of placating me, of apologising, of calling Cheryl to task, and now that I’d found her there was nothing to do, nowhere for my anger to go and I suppose it just went up inside me and festered and found its way into my soul.