Lament of a Lost Daughter: Part 4

Isabella McCall, Columnist •


After Laurel told me about her mother, we stayed in the car both holding hands as we stared out, silently remembering as the heater created a dense steam on the windows. A splinter of time passed and our physical hunger lured us from the cradle of the cab into the public eatery.

As we made our entrance through the wooden door, heated air rushed out and the noise inside stuttered, then resumed. The interior was a cheerful theme with its yellow walls, light pine floors, and diner-style tables topped with paintings of fireweed shellacked on. It gave way to a notion of a happy place full of memories for both the young and old, a place that where each native became could be found.

Laurel and I migrated to a small booth placed in the front corner. We both slid into our seats, hers facing me, mine facing both her compassionate face and the rest of the diner’s current in- habitants; a husband and wife with two young children both vying for attention from their parents, an elderly man sip- ping soup while he marked on a word search, two young fishermen and their father, all still wearing their rain bibs and beanies.

Within a few moments of settling in, the waitress, a kind older woman named Alice, came over with menus. Laurel, one of the regulars, explained the good versus the bad dishes and we both settled on salmon burgers.

We sat, waiting for the food. I stayed taciturn wanting Laurel to start the conversation. It was curious to me how she would bring up the topic of our mothers. Would she ask me about mine? What she was like? Or would she start off talking about hers?

Laurel started, “My own daughter lives in Anchorage with her own family now. I can remember living for myself before she was born, but after I only lived for her. My life went from being my own to being hers, every tide of her life came with a wave in mine. I guess that’s what motherhood is.”

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