The Christmas Tree

Prompt: “That really did not help.”

It’s burned in my memory

The last Christmas I spent

With mom, in her home.

She had an artificial tree

Which she assembled, but

She was too old, unstable

To climb up on step-stool…

I certainly didn’t want to be

Responsible if she fell…so

When it was time to put the

String of lights on, I stepped up.

I was a nervous wreck as soon

As she’d taken the tree from

The closet…we didn’t work well

Together.  I couldn’t ever get

Things right…as in perfect

To please her.

So I’m standing above, hands

Shaking as I wind the lights

Around…she’s supervising

Ready to pounce, criticize.

Some details of memory blur

But there’s sense-memory…

Feeling like I’m five, not 50-ish

And terrified of the ogre who is

Mom…a feeling which never

Changed, as long as she lived.

Terrified of what? Her quick-flicked

Anger, impatience, humiliations…

Ogre, and piranha.

Things proceeded tensely… I

Couldn’t glean her vision, nor

Follow her directions to get there.

My stress level climbed…images

Flew through my mind: of shoving

The tree over, and her… throwing

Myself through plate glass window

Where tree was always displayed.

Her voice rose…annoyance that

Her stupid daughter was incapable

Of simplest decorating task.

I wanted to suggest she call my

Sister, the daughter she preferred.

I wanted to sob like a baby, so

Hurt…and angry that she could

Still reduce me to quivering blob

Of useless human tissue, at my age.

I longed to ask, do you really

Think I can do a better job if

You keep hounding me?!!

But I said nothing…in my

Entire life, I doubt I’d spoken

True feelings to her a handful

Of times.  It wasn’t as much

That I’d been taught Respect

As certainty of punishing

Reply:  words that would

Decapitate my soul, leave it to

Bleed out…yet somehow

Maintain a pulse so I could

Relive pain for the rest of

My crippled, disfigured days.

I remained mute…somehow the

Tree got finished, whether or

Not to her full satisfaction.

I hate her, forgive her, hate her…

I didn’t attend her memorial

Service.  When I received copy

Of her Will, I wasn’t surprised

To be disinherited…numbed to her

Rejections… And, what I wanted

She never had.

I thought her death would grant

Me “closure”…(empty term).  But

“That really did not help.”

I can’t recall if I once loved her…

I only remember fearing her, and

Crying myself to sleep most of

My young life, heart shredded…

Needing her to love me.

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.


6 thoughts on “The Christmas Tree

  1. I so feel that. And if it is true memory, then my heart goes to you.
    I remember I ranted at my own mother’s death because gone was the last chance of her recognising what she had done, owning it, saying she was sorry.


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