My mother's daughter
Unlike that woman, there aren't many photos of you when you were seventeen. There is one though, which I remember seeing many years ago, taken just before you got married. You are staring straight into the camera, your jaw set, your posture perfect, your will strong.
How familiar I will become with your unbending will in the years to come! Some might even say I inherited your stubborness. Do you remember how many times you and I have disowned each other? During bitter fights over inconsequential things that would escalate into raging feuds. That we would go without speaking to each other for weeks. Now when I call, we speak like old friends. You tell me about your childhood, your brothers and your sisters. Stories I never had patience for when I was young. I listen to them now, may be because I realise that I may not have forever to hear the last of them. Still, sometimes we lapse into our old ways and one of us hangs up in a huff. And then there would be silence for days. Before the phone rings again.
Growing up I never saw much of you in me. I only saw father when I looked in the mirror. But now, when I speak to my child, it's your voice I hear. I borrow your stories, I sing your songs. I improvise on your jokes. I repeat the threats I heard as a child. I am you. And I'm finally beginning to understand what it must be like to be my mother.