Why should you respect your mother? Because one day you’re going to be one yourself. Your feet will walk exactly the same way your mother once walked. You will not even realise when it happens, but you will follow in the footsteps of the woman who loved you long before you drew your first breath.
The annoyed secretary entered Claire’s office and said:
‘Mark has just called to tell you that your mother has gone missing.’
‘But they were supposed to watch her, so that she doesn’t leave home unaccompanied. That’s why I hired them.’
‘Yes, but apparently they lost focus for a while and failed to notice her leave.’
‘Damn it, we’ll be looking for her until late and night once again.’
‘I can help…’
‘No, stay in the office and mind the business. Call the police. Tell them to bring their searching gear.’
The police officer accompanied Claire into her mother’s home.
‘Have a look at this one,’ said the young constable. ‘That’s the fun gadget we just got!’
‘What is it?’
‘It’s the device for detecting footprints.’
‘And what does it do?’
‘It detects all footprints: fresh and old alike. Up to forty years back!’
‘Does it? So we’ll easily trace my mother now, won’t we?’
‘Sure thing. Let me show you how it works.’
The device resembled a traditional metal detector. The man slid it above the floor and the desired information appeared on the LCD screen.
‘Could you please start looking...’ Claire was becoming impatient.
‘Of course, I’m right at it... How long has your mother been living here?’
‘Ever since I can remember. This is my family home.’
‘Hmmm.... That’s interesting.’
The man stopped. He gulped, as if he wanted to relaxed his tightened throat.
‘A baby cot must have stood here a while ago. There are plenty of your mother’s footprints around it. These are the footprints from forty years ago. And here, near this window overlooking the garden, there are also quite many: here and back, to and fro. You mum must have carried you in her arms when she was rocking you to sleep.’
The police officer proceeded to the next room.
‘And this must be the room where you grew up.’
‘Yes, how would you know?’
‘First of all, there are many footprints from twenty five years ago. There are no earlier footprints, because this is when the floor was replaced. It must have been refurbished to make a private place for you. And your mother’s footprints end at the threshold. She didn’t want to disturb you, am I right?’
‘Oh, yes, I was young and rebellious... And every now and then she wanted to enter my room,’ replied Claire, slightly embarrassed.
The policeman cleared his throat meaningfully and stopped once again.
‘I’m sorry, there’s something strange on the screen.’
‘What is it?’
‘Your mother’s more recent footprints. Those from twenty two years ago. And they don’t stop at the threshold. They reach as far as your bed. And at some point they start to... rise in the air!’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Did something happen at that time?’
‘Well, I had some... trouble with my boyfriend… I used to come home drunk… I went to bed and spent hours recovering.’
‘And your mum probably didn’t want to disturb you, so she rose in the air like an angel… She must have brought a blanket to keep you warm…’
Claire pulled the device out of the policeman’s hand and ran out of the house, totally shaken. She saw flickering footprints of various people on the screen, but she failed to see those most important ones.
After a few weeks’ search there was still nothing. Claire’s mother disappeared without a trace. And Claire returned to the house, which she had left in haste many years ago, with a stupid feeling of relief.
She had no idea that since that unfortunate day her mother has been watching her from above. Observing her everyday struggle. First she struggled with solitude. Then with her husband. And then with her child.
She never realised that, strangely enough, as she walked around the house in her favourite slippers, she was faithfully following in her mother’s footsteps...
Crobbe tip: call your mother today. Tell he how much you love her. A few simple words will be enough to make her happy.
Author: Maciej Wojtas
Translation: Maria Antonina Jaszczurowska