I Want to Go with You



Ana Vidosavljevic



 
© Copyright 2019 by Ana Vidosavljevic



Photo of a woman painting.

I rarely saw her. She was like an apparition. She would appear suddenly, float in the thin air barely showing her presence and then disappear again. I had always thought that we had nothing in common except that we had the same name, Isabel.

My mother was a strange person. She was a painter and often held art workshops all around the country and abroad. When I was five she decided to leave my father and leave me with him. There was no choice for me and it seemed she had no desire to bring me with her and take upon the role of a mother. My father was flabbergasted. He knew nothing about children raising. He was just a mechanic. But somehow, the two of us managed to successfully perform the roles of a father and a daughter.

My dad and I led pretty much quiet and boring life. Every day, I went to school and he went to the garage where he worked just around the corner, within walking distance from our house. He worked from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, but sometimes, if there was an urgent matter to deal with, he stayed until dark. I often made meals for the two of us during working days. And on weekends cooked. Sometimes, on rare occasions though, we would go out and eat hamburgers, pizza or Chinese food. Usually, it happened at the beginning of a month when he received his salary.

Our peaceful life was disturbed by unannounced and sudden visits of my mother. She would rush here and there through our house like one of Erinyes, infernal goddesses, demonic female spirits, and start putting my clothes as well as some of my school books in my backpack. No explanation, no much conversation, and no asking me if I wanted to come with her. It was understood I was obliged to come with her since she was my mother. Usually, she would come when my dad was not at home and after pushing me to get ready quickly and leave a note to my father, we both would start moving with an urgent haste as if the end of the world had been coming. My mother usually booked a hotel room for the two of us. And she didnít book any hotel. She picked a beautifully decorated boutique hotel of a refined bohemian style somewhere in the countryside not far from our town. The hotel had the comfort one would wish for. Room service, swimming pool, tennis court, bar, restaurant, massage centers, sauna and other leisure facilities. And for a little girl, it was a trip to heaven. I was spoiled and treated like a princess but the hotel staff. My mother spent those few days of our time together sunbathing, swimming and having massages.

Sometimes she read or wrote something in her big thick notebook, and occasionally she asked me how my grades were, who my friends were etc. But we didnít talk much. I guessed my mother was not much of a talker. I enjoyed every moment spent in the hotel. Those trips happened only a few times per year and I cherished them. But they didnít help me get to know my mother better. And I always felt sorry that my dad hadnít joined us, since I wanted him to relax and spend some time far from all the oil, exhaust gases and other filthy substances he had to deal with every day.

 
When our last day of a hotel stay came, I often inattentively told my mother: ďI want to go with you.Ē For a moment I would forget my father and selfishly wish I could stay with my mother, even though, she was a stranger who showed up once in a while, and then again disappeared for who knew how long without explanation. She usually didnít say anything to this. And she ignored my unmindful wish. She would tell me to pack my things and to come to the car as soon as I was ready since she had some urgent meetings she had to go back to. I obeyed unwillingly and during our short trip back to the house where my dad and I lived we usually didnít talk. I was afraid to ask her anything, even though I wanted to know when she would come back and when I would see her again. She would drop me off to the house, kiss me hastily and drove off in a to-me-unknown direction. I would remain standing in front of the house another half an hour with great dismay. If my dad was at home, he would come out, hug me, kiss me and ask me if I had had a great time. I nodded my head yes and entered the house. That day, I would usually be moody and quiet. But my dad would bring our old Monopoly or ask me to join him to the local bar where we would play darts. He would have a beer or two and I would get my special mocktail that I naively believed was an alcoholic drink. Sometimes, after we left bar, I would pretend I was drunk and dad would join me in my deliberate stumbling and bumbling. The two pretend-to-be drunkards would walk back home giggling and laughing. I would forget my gloomy mood and even my mother and go to sleep with a big smile on my face. And I would continue my normal life until the next motherís unanticipated arrival. Her arrival would once again disturb my emotions like a strong wind the lakeís surface, but my dad would calm me down using his magical tricks and bring me back to my state of calmness.

My motherís unexpected arrivals continued until I was fifteen. And then, she completely disappeared. I was confused when after a year of not seeing her, I got a postcard from the country called Madagascar where she had moved and lived with her new husband. She wrote she would not be able to come and see me the next couple of years and she didnít send an invitation for me to visit her. And that was when those fragile ties between the two of us broke. I had never seen her again and I had never told her again ďI want to go with you.Ē

But I cherished every moment spent with my dad. His health declined and he retired early, in his early forties. We moved to the big city where he could get a proper medical care, and I found a great job. I started working as a travel journalist for a big travel agency. I could travel whenever I wanted in order to write interesting stories about places I visited. The company covered all the expenses. But I had never had desire to go to Madagascar. Not because I didnít want to see my mother, but mostly because I didnít want to go so far away and leave my dad alone for so long.

Ana Vidosavljevic from Serbia currently living in Indonesia. She is a teacher, international relations specialist, writer, translator, interpreter, journalist, surfer and mom-to-be. Her collection of short stories Mermaids will be published by Adelaide Books in September 2019, and a memoir Flower Thieves will be published by the same publishing house in April 2020.


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