He came back to me.
He stood in the doorframe. It still had the blue pen lines where I had marked his height each year on his birthday.
He came over and awkwardly pulled me to him. My head rested on his heart.
Quietly I said. “Aidan. When I found out I was pregnant with you. I cried. I cried for my future I thought I’d ruined. I cried for you and how unfortunate you were to be mine.”
His arms loosened around me.
“But everyday, I tried to keep you happy and eased your reflux. I was worried you would die and it would be my fault. As you got older, I worried you would run onto the road or get hurt climbing trees. I kept you reading and looking out for Mars. I thought you would finish your studies and settle down in a job in a university somewhere, maybe with a family.”
I took a deep breath, “I am afraid to lose you Aidan. What is my life now? Without you, what am I?”
Aidan let me go. We stood centimeters apart but alone in our own thoughts. I stared at the vinyl diamonds between his socks; the vinyl he had run his cars across.
“I tried my best Mum. I wanted you to be proud of me. I am good at physics. I am good at this.“
Aidan’s phone rang and it tore off the cloak of tension holding us. He went into the lounge and I heard him, picking up the photo frame of him and me on his first day at school. I looked at that photograph every day.
Aidan came back into the kitchen where I hadn’t moved since he left. “I will always love you Mum, wherever I am.”
“Me too.” I whispered.
“I’m scared I might die out there.”
“But I’m still going. I want you to be happy for me.”
I walked over and held him.
“I’ll try Aidan.” I said into his shirt.
Aidan wrapped his arms around me. “I’ve asked Katya to keep an eye on you. Every time you look at Mars you can think of me, and the nights we used to spend together looking up. And please, I did do it for you.”
I was not sure it was the best gift from a son to his mother, but I had no choice.
I squeezed him hard.
The magic of the countdown
21 hours ago