Skip to the article, or search this site

Home: The Toast

Previously in this series: The Little Prince.

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. She held him, and he couldn’t move unless she moved him. When she wanted him to be still, he was still. When she wanted him to move, he moved. And she rocked him, and she held him. And while she held him, she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll have you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew.

(But she was still bigger. She was always bigger than him.)

He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves.

She gave the books away. Now the shelves were empty. There was nothing to pull.

He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator.

She threw the food away. Now the refrigerator was empty. It held a lightbulb and it held cold inside of itself, and nothing else. There was nothing to eat. She loved him so much.

He took his mother’s watch and flushed it down the toilet. And she picked him up and she put him inside of the refrigerator, so that now it was not empty. And he was only two. And he had to hold his knees to his chin and lay sideways in the dark. And she heard the thump of his body behind the door, and she loved him. She loved him still and quiet and behind the door.

You were quiet and still and in the dark when you lived inside of me, she told him through the door. You be quiet and still and in the dark now.

And when he stopped thumping, she opened the door, and she let him lie on the floor.

When she wanted him to move, he moved. When she wanted him to be still, he was still. If he moved when she wanted him to be still, she knew how to make him be still. She was his mother.

At night time, when that two-year-old was in bed and not moving and the lights were all turned off, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed, because she was his mother and there is nowhere a mother cannot go. She crawled on her hands and knees. He could see her eyes just above the floor. And he didn’t move.

She would pick him up and rock him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes she rocked him very tightly, and it made his head ache. You don’t have a head ache, she told him. I know what pain is like, when I gave birth to you. You don’t know what pain is like. 

Ill-Always-Love-You-BabyHe thought he knew what pain was like, but his mother knew that he didn’t. His mother knew everything that he knew. I used myself to make you, she told him. There is no part of you that did not come from me. That does not belong to me. I am more you than you are. 

While she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll have you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

I’ll always be living, she told him. I can’t die. I’m your mother. Mothers can’t die. You’ll grow up and be an old man and I’ll still be here. I’ll still be your mother. And as long as I’m living, I’ll be bigger than you. 

She always was.

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. (But she was still bigger.) He grew until he was nine years old. (But she was still stronger.) And he never wanted to come in for dinner.

So she stopped letting him out. A good son would not want to leave the house. A good son did not leave the house. A good son stayed in the four rooms and the hallways he was allowed to go in. A good son knew the rooms he was allowed to go in and the rooms he was not; knew the words he was allowed to say and when he was allowed to say them; knew when to keep his eyes closed and his mouth closed and when to go in the dark.

But at night time, when he was in his bed and not moving, the mother quietly opened the door to his room — how can you lock out a mother? — crawled across the floor and looked up over the side of the bed. Then she picked up that nine-year-old boy and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll have you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The boy stopped growing. The boy only moved when she wanted him to move. The rest of the time he was still.

The boy was almost always still.

Sometimes the mother wouldn’t have to wait until it was dark to open the door to his room, crawl across the floor, and look up over the side of the bed. He always expected her now. His head always hurt. She was always rocking him. A mother can’t go away. The sun can’t go away. And she sang to him. She always sang to him:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll have you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The boy didn’t know any other songs.

I’ll always be living, she told him. I can’t die. I’m your mother. Mothers can’t die. You’ll grow up and be an old man and I’ll still be here. I’ll still be your mother. And as long as I’m living, I’ll be bigger than you. 

That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home.

But he couldn’t really leave his mother. You never really leave your mother. Your mother can’t let you. You’re her baby.

Sometimes on dark nights the mother got into her car and drove across town. She knew where he lived. He was her son. You can’t keep secrets from your mother. She finds you. In the dark, if she has to. Crawling, if she has to. Eyes across the floor.

If all the lights in her son’s house were out, she opened his bedroom window — you can’t lock out your mother — crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed.

Love-You-Forever-mom-holding-sonIf that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

She was so strong, and he was only a boy. Her love hurt him very much, but that never stopped her.

And while she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll have you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

Well, that mother, she got older. She got older and older and older. One day she called up her son and said, “You’d better come see me because I’m very old and sick.” And her son didn’t say anything for a long time.

So her son came to see her. She was sitting in the dark.

When he came in the door she tried to sing the song. She sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll have you for always…

But she couldn’t finish because she was too old and sick. The son went to his mother, but his feet didn’t work right. She wasn’t bigger than him, but she was still his mother. You can’t lock mothers out.

He touched her hand, and her skin was hot and cold all at once. It made his head ache, to touch her. She smiled.

He picked her up and rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And he sang this song:

You’ll love me forever,
You’ll have me for always,
As long as I’m living
my Mother you’ll be.

When the son came home that night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He looked at her, but he didn’t pick her up, and he didn’t sing to her.

He looked at her and he didn’t say anything and he left the room and he closed the door.

$
Select Payment Method

Loading ...

Personal Info

Donation Total: $1.00

Add a comment

Skip to the top of the page, search this site, or read the article again

(Close this.)