Through the Tunnel
A personal narrative from a mother’s point of view
Made from "Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing
It had been a vacation like most others, I thought as I walked up the well-used path leading to the villa. I was actually quite proud of myself. I had felt like a good mother during this vacation, which was rare. It was now the last day before we were to leave, and Jerry had been contented during our stay.
As I entered the villa I met Jerry in the hallway, and I lit up and gave him a warm embrace. He was such a beautiful boy. Ever since his father’s death, I had felt an increasing need of being near him, taking care of him. I knew that keeping him too close might cause him more damage than anything else, but he was after all my only child. I couldn’t bear losing him as I had lost his father.
I let go of him, and as I spotted dried blood in his hair, my voice became slightly squeaky.
- How did you bang your head? I asked, whilst the sensible voice in my head desperately tried to calm the other, alarmed voice.
- Oh, just banged it, he said.
There was a persistent knot in my stomach as I observed him closely. However, the sensible voice in my head kept pushing that there was nothing to worry about, and the knot started to untie itself. I decided to ignore the strained look on Jerry’s face, and we sat down to lunch.
- Mummy, I can stay under water for two minutes – three minutes, at least.
He seemed to vomit those words out. I frowned, but replied only:
- Can you darling? Well, I shouldn’t overdo it. I don’t think you ought to swim any more today.
Telling him that felt only fair, and I was ready for his nagging. As always when I felt worried about him, I came up with something that would argue that I was doing the right thing. And as always, I thought that he was only a small child in a big world.