“Mothers,” short story by Lydia Davis.
– from Break It Down.
Everyone has a mother somewhere. There is a mother at dinner with us. She is a small woman with eyeglass lenses so thick they seem black when she turns her head away. Then, the mother of the hostess telephones as we are eating. This causes the hostess to be away from the table longer than one would expect. This mother may possibly be in New York. The mother of a guest is mentioned in conversation: this mother is in Oregon, a state few of us know anything about, though it has happened before that a relative lived there. A choreographer is referred to afterwards, in the car. He is spending the night in town, on his way, in fact, to see his mother, again in another state.
Mothers, when they are guests at dinner, eat well, like children, but seem absent. It is often the case that they cannot follow what we are doing or saying. It is often the case, also, that they enter the conversation only when it turns on our youth; or they accomodate where accommodation is not wanted; smile and are misunderstood. And yet mothers are always seen, always talked to, even if only on holidays. They have suffered for our sakes, and most often in a place where we could not see them.
* * *
I love you, Mom. But you know that. <3