I gasp, for there she is: mom steps in from the shadow behind the mirror. Even if I try, I cannot grasp her. She advances slowly until she is standing right here, a few steps removed from the bed, tired, covered with a fine layer of dust, the dust of a long travel. By now it has caked on her face, because of the sweat that has already dried up. And in that crust, a crack here, a crack there bring out the crow feet by the corners of her eyes.
There is a stack of sheet music in her hands, which mom lets scatter in her path across the floor. Perhaps by now she has grown weary of her journey. I imagine it has been a while since she heard an ovation, since she took her bow in front of a crowd. And now, somewhere out there, a kid must be playing, practicing notes which are drifting in through the open window, out of sequence, confused.
She is wavering in her mind whether she should stay here, in this bedroom—which is hers after all—or walk out the door.
Finally, her exhaustion weighs in. Mom looks around her for a quiet place, and as if she were a stranger, she tiptoes—so as not to disturb—to the corner of this bed, where she turns her back to the two of them.
Her weight makes barely a dent on the mattress. She curls herself, tightening her arms over her knees and interlacing her fingers, which helps her keep loneliness away. Then she starts falling asleep, in the same place where the monogram—Natasha over Leonard—used to be.
It is then that I open my eyes and walk out of the room, closing the door behind me as softly and as gently as I can.
"Apart From Love is a fascinating insight into the human condition and all the tortured webs we, who are all too human, weave."
- John Holland, Author