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About the Mother

Gillian Devereux

Every family needs a mother. They had not yet found a way around this requirement. A mother serves an important purpose and so becomes indispensible. Many rooms in a house look better with a mother in them. Kitchens feel more complete with a mother. She should wear an apron and bake bread from scratch. She should offer you a cup of tea after a long, cold day. A mother also adds authenticity to living rooms and master suites. She smiles and nods to encourage conversation. She dusts and straightens. She drinks.

It can be difficult to explain a mother’s absence. Visitors often seem determined to meet her. You just missed her, the family says. She was here just a moment ago. The mother’s scent lingers in the air. She smells like burnt amber and lilacs. She smells like black coffee and star anise. The mother leaves small objects all over the house. A hairpin. An antique compact. A half-used tube of lipstick. A thimble. The mother has abandonment issues. The mother moves quickly, but the family has learned to track her location. They listen for the clatter of her high heels against the hardwood floor. They listen hard. If they concentrate, they can almost hear her singing.

Gillian Devereux

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