My mother was always a bit odd. As a child each year near my birthday she would make trayfuls of gingerbread cookies and pass them out to my classmates with a handwritten card, thanking them for being my friend. And if you had stepped into our house you would find our walls adorned top to bottom with every piece of s****y school art I had ever done. It got to a point where I would just throw my creations away before I got home. The strangest thing though was she talked to our plants.
She even named them. There was Daphne the lemon tree, Carl the pomegranate tree, and Joseph the Oak, bigger than a sapling but far from a mature tree. I would often find her in the backyard having full-blown one sided conversations with them. When I told her that was more than a bit strange she would respond curtly.
“They need to know they are loved Steven!” she’d say and then she would wait until I had gone back inside before picking up where she left off.
Sometimes she would insist we dress up in our nicest clothing and pose by the trees for pictures taken by her timer operated camera. I knew she was far from a normal mother, but all we had was each other and she did give me all the affection a mother could give.
When I moved out for college I made sure to stay close, because I couldn’t bear to leave her alone. She kissed my forehead when I told her this and lovingly told me that it was okay, that she had Carl, Joseph and Daphne to keep her company but I could tell she was relieved to have me near.
As I grew older I saw less and less of her. Work, friends, and a love-life took more of my time and I only got to see her once every two weeks. I was at the bar with my friend when I got the call. My mother was dead. Our neighbor spotted her through the fence sprawled on the ground in our garden, a stroke.
Only a few family members and friends showed up to her funeral but that was fine, it was always just me and her.
She was cremated shortly after the ceremony and I took her home with me.
I was given the house and all her belongings, she only had one request of me in her will and that was that I continue to take care of and talk to the trees. I took care of them sure, but I couldn’t really bring myself to talk to plant-life.
One day as I was finally going through her room, I found an envelope in her desk with a cache of papers inside. I looked through them and was shocked at what I found. Three stillborn-death certificates for a Joseph, Carl and Daphne. I had never known I had siblings and had never seen any urns, but I knew already where their remains were housed.
Now I take her last wish seriously and everyday I talk to the trees. I even bought a new one for my mother.