|(My mom-Anna Smith: Photo By: Christine McFarlane)|
Visit with Mom
By: Christine McFarlane
I’m staying in a little town an hour out of my reserve-Peguis First Nation, in Ashern Manitoba. The houses are sparse and there is land as far as you can see.
I pull my jacket close. Securely shut the front and back doors, and set out for what my mom and her boyfriend Jim call ‘downtown’. The streets are empty, except for maybe one or two cars that sputter by.
There is no cell phone service, but by habit I bring my iphone and turn my tunes on. Music blares though the little buds into my ears, and I smile as I start my trek.
By memory from the day before, I navigate my way from the back door of my mom’s house, around the long chain link fence surrounding their property, and down a barren path. I’m greeted by the barking of two dogs along the way, no other soul in sight.
It’s so different than the city life I’m used to in Toronto, Ontario, where people seldom walk slowly, and people are always on the go. A big WHOOSH of air escapes from my lips and I see my breath before me. Its cold in Toronto, but being new to this area, I never expected it to be as cold as it is, minus three degrees.
I feel the chilly wind whip through my thin jacket, and my pace quickens. Small buildings dot this little town’s landscape, and though there are street signs, I find that I don’t have to rush against a crowd of people just to cross the street.
I see a small-dilapidated building on my right, with a sign above the door that says Ashern Support Centre. I know my mom and Jim are there because I see his little tractor with the ski doo trailer behind it angle parked on the empty street corner.
I pull the door open. Standing in the doorway for a second, my eyes adjust from the outside light to the indoor light. I glance around the room to see if my mom and her boyfriend are there. My eyes meet the glances of people sitting at a long worn out plastic utility table and I see two familiar faces-my mom and Jim.
Jim yells out “Hey you made it!”
I take off my earphones, and smile. I want to be like my mom and say “Ah, be quiet,” but don’t. I walk over and sit down at the end of the table. People wonder who I am, my mom looks over at me and says
“This is my daughter, she came from Toronto to visit.”
“Oh!” says a lady sitting at the other end of the table
“What’s your name?”
“Christine,” I say quietly.
People comment, “You look so much like your mom.”
We all laugh as they say, “We should call you little banana,” because your mom’s nickname is big banana!”
Everyone is sitting and drinking coffee and tea. I take everything in around me and then my mom gets up and says “Come on.”
I get up and follow my mom out the door. We start to walk this sleepy little town’s streets. Checking out one store after another. There’s not much to check out, after all the main street drag has about as many stores as half a block back in Toronto.
This is the third time I have seen her in all of my thirty-eight years. I have a million different feelings that I can’t quite define because at last my mom is at my side.
(an excerpt of a story I'm working on)