The door, shut behind me with force from the draft of the windy, early May air breezing in from the open window in to my mother’s lonely, sterile room led me out. To what seemed to be the longest corridor of the hospital, one that was to take me out of that ice cold building into the train station, on the first leg of my overseas trip. With Alaz, my husband, a man whom I barely knew, whom I had married after being introduced to him by one of his colleagues a mere handful of months ago. Having since known him in a highly restricted man and woman exchange.
The sound of the door. A recurring reminder of profound sadness but also confusion. If only I had known that evening was going to be the last time for me to hear my mother’s voice, smell her, hug her, caress her rapidly disappearing hair, touch her still amazingly beautiful face, kiss her, take in the undecipherable look of those remarkably beautiful dark green eyes that always knew how to find my soul. With my mother being able to respond to my embrace in full consciousness one last time, that is. Her hand in mine and her inquisitive eyes on my face and demeanor, seeking an answer for the level of my happiness in my few days-old marriage.
Against the orders of her surgeons, my mother made sure to make her appearance in the cocktail salon where the so-called happy celebration happened. I preferred not to recall any details of that night, or any other nights following it, with her or with anyone else. Yet, I pretended to be happy. Especially, whenever with my mother, during the time slots the hospital allowed me the short visits: I would put on my happiest possible facial expressions. My preference was to stay behind as the fiance, until after Alaz settled in the States to make sure it was there he would want to pursue his doctorate degree. He could always come back for us to get married – was how I tried at different times to convince my mother. She just wouldn’t listen. Avranos had still been living in the flat right across from ours. As with my mother, it was common knowledge in our closest vicinities how much in love the two of us were, regardless of how final our separation had been.
“You are not a man, if you leave your fiancé behind,” is how my mother had confronted Alaz, as he told me the year she died. Only then, did he reveal to me how she convinced him to go against my wish and decision in order to make sure the wedding took place before anyone would leave for the States. It was that day when I discovered the other reason, or better yet, the reason, behind my mother’s insistence for me to marry and leave at once to begin my own life far away from my unachievable love’s home. Her prognosis had in reality been far worse than she pretended to be the case. Worse than anyone in my family pretended to me to be the case. Before my wedding date, specialists had known she would have less than a year to live – barely a month before her first surgery.