Creative Writing: One More Hug By Jane Ashworth

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Featured image: Georgia Harmey @georgiah.illustration

I know I’m embarrassing. I’m not supposed to engage in any form of conversation with other parents or students, you want me to keep my head down, empty the car and clear off. 

‘Well, I don’t want to be lugging all your stuff up three flights of steps in this heat, I’ve given up my tennis for this. Do you think I want to be nagging you about your charger, your loan, your bedding? I’ve been wiping your arse for eighteen years now and I’ve had enough. Yeh go on, pull your face, eye-roll.’

This is worse than your first day at school, at least then, I had you to myself again at home time.

‘Right, let’s get the plates and everything into the kitchen. Pick a cupboard, that’s what your sisters did, pick a cupboard and put all your pasta and everything in it. Did you bring those recipe cards? No?
Where do you want these Pot Noodles?
Oh I’ll leave you to it…’

‘Shall I make your bed?’

‘Oooh, you’ve got an en-suite, I never had my own bathroom at uni, mind you, you’ll barely fit in there. Good job you didn’t bring the cat. I said, good job… oh you heard me, but I’m just not funny.’

I spot a silverfish slip into the drain, eww…

Shoving the pillows into their cases for the last time. Am I being melodramatic?
Even if you don’t come home ‘til Christmas, I probably will make your bed again.
Smoothing the duvet, my heart beats and breaks in double time. I reminisce about the day you were born; it really does seem like yesterday.

Distracting myself from the big goodbye by talking shit, I repeat the old adage, everyone you make friends with this term, you’ll be trying to shake off for the next three years.
You’re not listening,
you’ve heard it all before.

I don’t want to leave.
I’ll be redundant.
Mothering has been my job for the last twenty five years.
You’re my youngest, my baby.
I’m your mum.

It’s daft but I suddenly decide that I do enjoy doing your washing, cooking for you, giving you lifts, bollocking you for coming in late… pissed. Again.
I love all that, I don’t want it to stop. Filling up, I hug you.
You squeeze me back.
You used to cuddle me all the time I remind you, sobbing into your shoulder.

‘I know I know, I’m showing you up, but the others can’t see us, I’ll go in a minute.
Sure you’ve got everything?’

‘Look after yourself, don’t choke on your own vomit, or anyone else’s, don’t do drugs, do some work.
Miss me but have fun.
See you soon. Love you.’

You automatically reply that you love me more, but of course, that’s impossible.
Like a toxic love affair, I’m determined not to text first.

But, I will.
I’m your mum.

About the author / 

Jane Ashworth

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