Coffee At My Mother’s Table
My earliest memories involve an adoration of women. A playroom, adjacent to the kitchen. My mother potters. Doorbell. The sound of heels or boots on the wooden floor grab my attention. I put my head around the door. I loved the redhead who dressed in bright colours. The cousin with the caramel skin and the curly hair. Designer sunglasses dropped onto our kitchen table. Her style so chic it sent shivers up my spine. And the blondes. Oh the blondes! I couldn’t get enough of their skinny jeans and giant leather bags.
We lived in a house for visiting. Very near the local supermarket. My mother’s pull up a chair policy, no matter what’s taking place. And little me, barely up to my mother’s hip, rolling out a red carpet for the women of the world. As they tossed their hair over their shoulder, I’d mimic them, inch-long hair no obstacle for the woman in me. I’d long to put varnished hands around a cup of coffee like they do. Taking gentle sips with my lipsticked mouth.
In the mirror I’d stare at myself, copying their mannerisms. And there was no sense that I was doing anything wrong. I was a beautiful woman in my mind. The boy in the reflection couldn’t overshadow that fact. If I were at my mother’s table, I’d sit with my legs crossed. I’d throw my head back in laughter, making the blonde locks dance around my shoulders. My handbag would be on my knee and I’d dig around in it every now and again, producing a compact and inspecting my makeup.
My sisters would shun me from their games, our age gap putting us on different levels when it came to playtime. But the game of being a woman was one I was happy to play on my own. My eyes huge as I step into the kitchen for the few minutes that children are tolerated by adults. Before you’re told to go and play. Femininity. I didn’t know the word, but I didn’t need to. A person who’s never heard about God can still celebrate a higher power.
My earliest memories involve an untarnished sense of myself. Standing in front of that reflection with a cropped haircut. Made to wear jeans. Treated differently to my sisters. Given presents I didn’t want. How was I so certain that I’d grow into a beautiful woman? One day I’d be glamorous. Sitting at a kitchen table with my girlfriends.
The eyes in my reflection stay the same as I grow to over six foot, my hair sprouts from my head and reaches past my shoulders, my trousers form into skirts and my lips turn red.