My mother, Bessie, had been caring for my dad ever since old age had rendered him slightly incapable, so I had to look for her when she went missing.

I found her at the train station wearing a black fur coat with her hair straightened. As I approached, she whispered:

“I’m not going back.”

Before I could ask her a question, she shouted and told me it was time I looked after my father. People were beginning to stare, so I decided not to argue, and, besides, she was right. I was about to leave and allow her to continue with her escape when she called me back:

“I’m not a bad person,” she said, “but I’ve looked after him for long enough. I deserve to focus on what’s really important.” She pulled out a mirror from her handbag and began to apply makeup.

I watched her powder her face. “Focusing on what’s really important?”

“Precisely,” she answered.

Now, I visit my father three times a week. Sometimes, while we’re watching television, he’ll say without looking at me: “Bessie, change the channel, love.”

I don’t tell him about the photos Mother sends of herself posing in exotic locations beside Galápagos tortoises, elephants and muscular men.

Featured photo by Aira Aturo

View All