April 2nd, huh. You missed out on the really fun shenanigans that often happen during April fools by only a day. That means that, depending on how you felt and how dad felt, April fools jokes were still going to be played whether you wanted them or not. I don’t remember all the April’s Fools the two of you played with me and with each other. The only one that really stuck out in my mind was when, in my early teens, my mother pulled me aside with stillness in her features. She bade me sit down and said, “I have something important to tell you,” with low words. I couldn’t read her face. I couldn’t figure out if I had gotten into trouble of it I’d done something–all I knew is that burbling, wordless fear started crawling around in my brain trying to find anything that I’d done wrong recently.
“Uh. Okay,” I said.
She was in her favorite rocking chair. She leaned in close and put her hand over mine. And then the stoic mask she’s worn earlier slipped with her one-corner-of-mouth smile as she said: “You’re going to have a little brother or sister!”
And of course I start flapping my arms around lik they were made of two week old celery that’s not dried out enough to be bad, but certainly rubbery. “REALLY?” I asked, in that sub-sonic woman’s voice reserved for newborns, puppies, kittens, and those moments that happen in your favorite move. It’s at this point that I notice my mother’s smile turning to smirk. It happened slow; along the left hand side of her mouth it would begin to curl a little downward, showing laugh-line creases. Then her eyes, once steady, became glittering with the laughter she withheld .
She came clean to me and reminded me of the date: April 1st. I was disappointed, but not mad. It was, for me and for her, a trifling little April fools between us that meant no hard.
April is coming.
April fools and then
My mother’s birthday.
I have dreamed of her so much at night that no matter how weird and awful or utterly mundane it is–she’s there. Sometimes a big focal part. Somethings I see her passing by me like I’ve been dawdling and I should hurry. Sometimes it’s just a flash of her favorite purse, hair and blue jeans before it’s gone.
These dreams are the worst. I don’t want to wake up. I want to lay in bed for days on end so that I can see her again. So that she’s there. But when I wake up, I realize it was just a dream and it’s not really her and will never be as good as her and I feel like I am starting to mourn her all over again.
What I want is an april fools. I want it to be a horrible, giant April Fool’s joke.
I want her to call me tomorrow and say, “April Fools!”
And I want yell at her about how awful that April Fools was and did she honestly know how broken our entire family is and didn’t she know I had so much more to say to here and show her. I have a house. I have a beautiful backyard. A husband you’ve never met. I have cats. Four cats. And I now you love cats. And birds. And Ma, we take such good care of each other. He really loves me. He’s the one, he’ll always be the one, so you don’t have to worry about who I am dating. Just don’t this April fools again!
Darlene Mae Noseworthy
April 2nd, 1956 – December 11th, 2011
Good bye, Mum.