Sunday had always been Momma’s favourite day. She’d get up early, make breakfast and lunch then doll herself up for church. Martha needed only an hour to get ready so they could take the short drive to their ‘home church.” Martha liked to find new ways to tell her mother she looked good, she was a walking thesaurus. Ravishing, gorgeous, exquisite,stunning….Momma would instantly have the widest grin on her face each time she heard the compliments.
Depending on her mood, she would turn around and strike a pose..or simply ask “Aren’t you used by now?” They would both laugh and head out.
Sunday had unexpectedly turned into a painful reminder of what things used to be. Martha dreaded it as much as she now resented God. How could he break her rock,her best friend, her genuine piece of happiness? Her cheerful momma had transformed into a shell of her former self in an instant.
Martha could vividly remember that evening. She had returned from work to find her mother coiled up on the couch, with puffy eyes and a stack of handkerchiefs. “What happened momma?” she yelled, louder than she’d expected. Momma seemed unable to make eye contact, her crestfallen face speaking louder than words. “I have ccckkkkk….” Was all she could muster before she broke down. Martha hugged her tight, trying to figure out what she was trying to say, hoping they would figure it out whatever it was. She could not remember the last time she had seen her mother like this. A part of her did not want to know what she was trying to say. After what seemed like ages, momma looked up and whispered, “the doctor says it’s cancer.”
Tears started to roll down Martha’s cheeks. She opened her mouth but failed to make a sound. A million thoughts run through her head as she subconsciously dug her fingers into momma’s back. It was only after momma let out a soft moan that she noticed and put her arms around her neck instead. It was the longest night in her 25 years of existence.
Why were the chemotherapy sessions on Sunday anyway? Couldn’t the universe at least give them a break on this day of all days?, Martha often thought. Momma was now bald and weighed much less. She had aged rapidly in this past year. The cancer took more than just her hair and weight though, it had stolen her spirit. That bit killed Martha more than the pain and financial struggles. She wanted her mommy back.
On the good days they took walks and talked animatedly, almost like old times.
Momma had noticed her oncologist’s left hand on one of their visits, always with her attention to details. There was no wedding band. On one of their routine checks,recently, she had turned to him and casually asked “Do you think my daughter is beautiful?” He’d been perusing through her file and it dropped immediately. He quickly picked it up, completely flustered and seemingly unable to respond. “Mom!” Martha exclaimed. “What? It is just a simple question,” momma stubbornly replied. The poor Doctor stood there unsure what to do next. “Well, this little girl of mine is single and it would be nice if you could both grab coffees sometime, you work too hard.” The tall, dark Doctor finally spoke. He turned in Martha’s direction and smiled, “I am game if you are.” He mumbled some excuse and hurriedly left the room.
They both burst out laughing when he left. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, Martha had missed her mom’s from-the-core-of-the-heart-laughter. She tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to remember the last time they had shared a moment like this.
It was in that instant that she decided she would stop blaming God or anyone else for their situation. If her single mother could give her the enviable life she had lived, the least she could do was give her beautiful memories in her time of need. Things had to change if she was to get her best friend back. Not to mention, Doctor Otim was not bad looking either 😉
Sunday mornings would not be the same, they would be better.