by Marcelo Medone
lemon scented tea
‘The marmalade lacks sugar, my dear. Besides, you put too much cinnamon in it,’ my mother said, swallowing the last bit of toast with my homemade orange marmalade.
I gave her my best resigned smile.
‘How is your spine? What did the doctor say?’ I asked. Not that I was too interested in a detailed medical status report on her osteoporosis, but at least she wasn't going to comment on my blueberry scones.
My mother took the time to spread another toast with butter and the marmalade she had criticized. She bit the toast eagerly, took a few sips of her lemon scented tea and looked at me indifferently.
‘How long have you not seen your husband? Does he send you any money? Look, a daughter generates expenses. Leila is growing up. And it is not fair that only you take care of her,’ she counterattacked.
I wanted to talk about her osteoporosis, her arthritis that no longer allowed her to knit wool quilts, her cataract operation that had been delayed for a year, her persistent insomnia and her eternal quarrels with her neighbours.
I took a bite of one of my scones. It melted amiably in my mouth and flooded me with fragrances of my childhood.
‘Would you like a blueberry scone, Mom? They won't be as good as the ones you make, but I tried to do my best.’
She ignored me like I was a disembodied ghost.
‘Do you want more tea?’ I insisted.
I tried to fill her cup again, but she waved me not to.
‘I always thought Martin was a bad candidate. Don't say I didn't warn you. But you insisted that he was the man of your life. Besides, you wanted to leave home. Do you see how you ended up? Now I come to visit you, my poor girl. It was about time, right?’
I made an effort not to say something rude to her, but I told myself that she was actually right. Besides, twenty years have passed. Twenty years that became an eternity, especially the last ten.
My mother opened her mouth as if to say something else, but I held her back with my gaze. We were both silent for a moment. I looked out the window and saw that the rain had stopped and the sun had risen.
I drank some tea, taking small sips, avoiding looking my mother in the eye. Suddenly she rose from her chair and leaned over the tray of scones.
‘I'll take some for later. They sure are better than the marmalade,’ she told me, as she tossed all of them in her bag.
‘Don't you want some napkins?’ I asked her in an undisguised ironic tone.
‘I already have some, thanks. Now, I'm going to visit your father. Today is ten years since he passed away. You remembered, right?’
About the author
Marcelo Medone (1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His works have received numerous awards and have been published in magazines and books, both in digital and paper format, individually or in anthologies, in multiple languages in more than 40 countries, including the UK.
Facebook: Marcelo Medone / Instagram: @marcelomedone
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