Story by Leila Mekhdiyeva
Illustration by Mila Khan
I keep running. Keep running away from my pain, from my past, from my love, and from you. You are My Only Daughter. You are the only light I had in my life and I lost you. If I were brave enough I would come to you and ask you for forgiveness. And I know you would forgive me, I know you would.
My pain inside is never silent. It makes me keep going, keep running, keep hiding from anything that might make me want to stay. But I can’t. I simply can’t. I’m empty. I’m too empty to love, too empty to give, too empty to stay. I know you have so many questions and I wish I had a chance to meet you, talk to you, become your best friend, your support, but all I am is a woman who is unable to love.
When I met your father, I was only nineteen. I was going to college and I was broken-hearted. I loved a guy, who, I believed, was my soul mate, my best friend, my lover, my partner, my life. Until one day he betrayed me and left me, and I felt like I was dying. It was as if someone opened up my chest, took my heart with their dirty hands covered in dirt, and threw my precious little heart to the darkest hole full of knives, and each of those knives kept piercing my heart. And after that they put that heart back to my chest with the smile on their face, saying: “I hope you will survive.” But I didn’t.
And that was when I met your father. I believed that someone with such a huge love for me would save me. I believed that his love was enough for both of us. I believed that his kind heart would make me feel alive again. It all happened so fast: the engagement, wedding, our honeymoon, the day I knew I was pregnant, and of course the day I gave a birth to you, my only baby. I thought it would work. I thought I would feel what every woman was supposed to feel, but I didn’t. I knew that being a wife and a mother was not for me. I knew that I wasn’t good enough. Especially when I saw how much love and connection you and your father had. He was so in love with you; you were the center of his Universe. And I knew, I knew, I was not good enough for you two. So I left. I saved some money and left. I didn’t know if I would ever come back, but I knew I could not stay there anymore.
You were seven when I left you, my green-eyed love. You may ask why I waited for so long, and frankly, I can’t say why, because I don’t know. I think, I wanted to believe that it will come with time. And by “it” I mean the enjoyment and fulfillment from being a mother and a wife. But as “it” didn’t come even after all those years, I decided to leave as I couldn’t live like that anymore. I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought someone like me is not good enough to be called a mother. I was an empty woman, I had no love inside and I couldn’t keep hurting those who loved me.
I think, that some women are not meant to be tamed. They will never be good wives and mothers, because they belong to no one, neither their kids nor their husbands. I know that I made a mistake by marrying your father, in the first place. Believing that he would be able to change me was a mistake. And still I went further and thought that maybe motherhood could save me, but it, as you already know, couldn’t. And maybe if I was braver I would have admitted that simple fact earlier, but I kept trying to convince myself that I am good enough to be a wife and a mother. And I know that your father always saw that in me, but he didn’t want to acknowledge that. I guess we both were playing our roles, one because of love and another one because of the fear of being judged.
But I have to be honest, no matter what I write here, it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t because I will never send it to you. I never will, as I never did with other sixty-three letters. You only got those odd and empty postcards instead, as odd and as empty as me, Your Only Mother. I wish, My Love, I wish I was different, I wish I was something that I couldn’t be, I wish I was full of love as your father, full of light as you. But I am an empty woman with no heart inside.
I cannot let you know who Your Only Mother is. It’s better if you think of me as a mysterious woman who keeps sending you all those postcards from the places she’s in, but you will never find her. You know that, I know that, we both know that.
Still I keep writing all these letters to you, My Love. And if there’s a chance that one day I will be bold enough to send all my letters to you, My Love, then there’s a chance that one day I will be bold enough to meet you, My Love, and tell you my whole story.
Love, Your Only Mother