March 5, 2013 by The Citron Review
by Jon Pearson
I can see my mother’s legs waiting for something on the stove as I play with Toby, my teddy bear, looking out from the legs of the chair, with the soup cooking on the stove and the smells like music from a radio, little whiffets of smell, smooth and wavy, and sunlight pouring through the window, cutting wide, sharp shapes on the floor, and the bottom of the chair smelling old, like a castle with a horse on a rope tied to it, and the kitchen floor all quiet and still and so flat it might be waiting all alone for rain, and looking out from between the rungs of the chair, I am the sort of cowboy who, if he wanted to spit, would just spit.
I see my mother’s legs like you might see the end of a day, a day come to an end over a hill, her legs mixed with the smell of tomato soup and toast, but with the daylight coming through the window over the sink, daylight, bright and invisible as God, as if God maybe was a great, big man, so big and friendly he was sizeless, and climbing through the window all smiles, looking for a piece of chicken.
And sitting on my legs bent under me, under the chair, under the table with my mother moving about, the quiet of it seems like the difference between rain and a cat in the rain. The bottom of the chair still smells like wet castle with a horse tied to a rope. “Now Toby,” I say and there is nothing to say, only the smell of my mother and the way she stops and stands at the stove. And from out of nowhere, Mommy starts humming, so soft and sudden it’s like fish swimming out into the sky turning into birds and Mommy’s breath filling me with daylight from behind my eyes. I hold Toby out beyond the chair to hear the song. The music is coming out my mother’s mouth and the back of her head, and I say, “Toby, Toby, this is God. This, this is God, Toby,” and I know I will remember my mother singing right now all my life because it is like birds flying out her legs.
And I grab as many birds as I can from the air and put them in my pocket because I am all pockets now, all pockets, but I won’t be someday. I will be all grown up someday and have to sit on a chair—not under a chair—and there will be no castle and no horse and no rope. But I know that someday, long after I have forgotten, right now will be the reason, the reason, I believe in God: Mommy singing with the soup on the stove. The reason, long after I have forgotten.
Jon Pearson is a writer, cartoonist, speaker, and creative thinking consultant. He has written over three hundred short stories and his work has appeared in a slew of publications. Secretly, though, Jon is still five years old and believes that love will conquer everything and that courage, creativity, and caring just might save the world.