The smell of smoke and shampoo.
Amber oil in her hair.
Every last thing my mother ever told me; every caution, every trained nuance… gone.
But we couldn’t do it. Just a few quick strokes and I had to stop.
I couldn’t do it.
She was patient. She reassured me. She bent over to kiss me, but stopped when she felt the tears.
“You are crying?
But that’s always the problem, isn’t it? How to get all that stuff in your head out from behind those teeth and lips. How to get it out of your dry mouth and into the warm air of a sweaty room.
No. It would be too much to explain, even to you, now. I didn’t even try. I just let those few tears get swept up by her mouth.
She lit a cigarette then.