Myrna A. Penhaligon

 
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Our mother went missing last Monday. We miss her first thing in the morning—we notice the absent scent of the dark roast coffee, which she liked so much. None of us drink it, so it would be a waste to brew it. But we miss waking up to the smell of it, filling the space between sleeping and waking, much like we miss the sound of her singing Gloomy Sunday, while she waits for her first cup of the day to perk.

Sometimes, we think that we see her, vanishing around a corner, or we think that we hear her soft footsteps, walking along the hallway. Sometimes, we smell her gardenia perfume, hanging in the air, as if she’s only just left the room.

She was last seen standing along the edge of the waves. When we last saw her, she was going out swimming, like she did every afternoon. She went so far out that we couldn’t see her anymore. And we’re still standing there, at the intersection of the sand and the ocean, our binoculars out, hoping for a glimpse of her. Sometimes, we can see her hand, rising up over the surf, waving back to us. Perhaps, it’s only a trick of the light. Maybe she’s still out there, now covered in scales and barnacles—her hair seaweed, her eyes broken shells, she’s watching us back. Missing us, too.