An old newspaper

Published by: Susan Ozer

Published on: 24 Sep, 2021

A winning entry in the TogetherintheUK story telling competition. Inspired by an old newspaper found in a relative’s house tells a story of the love between a mother and her child and a sense of belonging. 

Nesting in a warm fluid of love with a heartbeat so strong it lulls me to sleep. I feel heat and recoil at once further into my warm fluid chamber. I taste the food she eats, the drink she drinks and wonder how she knows what makes me tick. I hear every night, the music she plays, muffled laughter, voices, dances and jumps that makes me kick.

On a warm summer’s day, I hear the long blast of a horn, quarrelsome sea gulls, distant chimes and sense a pulling away from a cherished island.

Mama though is happy about something, she keeps bringing up fluid, making me squirm and twist in my warm and comfy home, filled with love so strong it blinds.

Whoa…I sense sudden heat, temperature change, but wait a minute, so much laughter, so much love, and then all this sudden rush of heady endorphins through the cord that binds. I wonder where Mama is right now, the food she eats, movements she makes catapulting me into dreamless sleeps.

Fast forward 50 plus 3 years or more- I see a tattered photo of her, a newspaper print brown and yellow with age, hid in a dark corner for years and years and smells like ancient sage. There she is, my mama dearest, with a bump that is me, stepped off a ship sailed for weeks on deep blue sea. Mama may be in in her twenties or maybe more and beautiful as I imagined her to be, with almondy brown eyes, velvety smooth skin, medium dark hair tied back with something that spells ‘P’.

I see my mama in this old and tattered newspaper print, on that day 50 plus 3 years or more ago and the feelings that I felt- the pictures in my developing brain of firing synaptic neurones, a tiny baby growing in mama’s womb- exactly how I imagined her to be.

She has travelled from England with dad to a land they used to call Gold coast, hope and pride, daddy standing proudly by her side. Mama is surrounded by family and warmth and to cries of ‘Akwaba ooo’, this means in Ghanaian ‘welcome welcome’- daddy standing proudly by her side.

I can now see 50 plus 3 years or more what was on the outside through a tattered newspaper print- a photo, faded, yellow with age and smelling like ancient sage, a precious glimpse of me in mama’s bump, stepped off a big ship christened Rift, a beautiful treasure so hard to find, no ultrasound photos in those days- so please be kind.

I am now back in this beautiful green country called England, where my life literally begun,25 plus years or more to date. The people, accents, food, smells, the music of the sixties that makes me cry and brings up memories of mum and dad and still do not know why.

Like mama, I have grown to love this Island, otherwise why does my heart jump when the plane emerges from the clouds, and see the land spread out right in front of my eyes?

I know that mama dear is proud of that little bump, I have grown to be in this England, a front-line health worker, just like mama was, serving in one of the greatest institutions in the world. I am now 50 plus 3 years and more to date, and know mama, will definitely agree.

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