The singing siren
The humming of my mother’s voice never fails to move me from deep within. The warmth of her melody brings me back to one of my oldest memories, an autumn night where we sat by the fire in our house. The crackling of the golden pine firewood had set the tempo to her reading. Life was awfully simple back then; growing pains, the biggest of my worries. All you had to do was lay your head on your mother’s belly while she stroked your hair, as she told you: everything is going to be alright. I can still hear the grumbling of her belly to my ear.
Fifteen years later, and a mere two months after fleeing my beloved mother’s nest, we find ourselves in a similar situation. Perhaps the fact that I recently emancipated enhances this newfound nostalgia. And perhaps, now that I grasp this near-adult perspective in life, the comfort that I seek in her humming as she strokes the smoothness in my hair grasps a new significance. For the first time, I can hear a shade of doubt in mother’s tenor. The scenario we find ourselves in is very different from the familiar household she raised me in.
This time, the humming of her melody is accompanied by the ceaselessness of air-raid bomb sirens sounding throughout the city. The warmth of her belly engulfs my whole being, like an extra layer of security, protecting me from the outside world. The heat of the fireplace is replaced by the constant dripping of a dark, humid basement in downtown Eastern Ukraine. This time, the trembling in her voice evokes the fear we share for my brother. As another muffled bang fills the emptiness of the basement, I embrace my mother and tell her: everything is going to be alright.