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Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
A Mother’s Love 

Galatia entered her family home covered in dirt and bruises and her hair was plastered to her scalp by sweat. Her sisters and mother looked up from their evening meals. “I’m sorry that I’m late mother.” She looked longingly but tiredly at the food and then down at her dirty hands. 

“You’re too dirty to sit at the table dear. Go take a shower. I’ll make you a plate and you can eat when you’re clean.” Cadence said in a surprisingly accepting tone and none of her sisters objected. Galatia offered her thanks and went off to take a shower. 

She returned about twenty minutes later dressed in a nightshirt and slippers and a housecoat to keep off the night chill. Her hair was blond once again and neatly combed back. She came into the common dining area and found that she and her mother were alone. The table had been cleared and the dishes were all in the dishwasher. 

Cadence told her to have a seat while she got up and pressed a few buttons on the microwave and retrieved a glass of juice for her daughter. When the meal was hot she put it down with the glass in front of Galatia and then sat down at the head of the table. Galatia had chosen the seat that was next to the head.  

The shower had both refreshed her and taken the last bit of resistance from her, Galatia was effectively sleep walking. “You seem excessively tired Galatia. Did you not sleep well last night?”

Galatia knew that Cadence was leading her to something so she might as well just follow the flow. “As a matter of fact mother, no I didn’t sleep well. In fact I hardly slept at all and was awakened after only a few hours before Harmony was ready to take us all shopping. Then we shopped for hours and came back only to begin our training with Harmony… and let me tell you that woman could exhaust anyone.” She was trying to eat and speak at the same time and her body was just too tired to coordinate those two activities well. She had to keep stopping at one to complete the other.

Cadence didn’t seem to mind. “I had heard that you were training with Harmony now.” She didn’t sound angry.

“Did you want to come and help or something?” Galatia wasn’t sure if she had unknowingly stepped on her mother’s toes.

“No, I’ll come and watch you train in a few days when you can do more than lean on your staffs after she runs you for an hour.” There was humor in her voice.

“Then you’re not angry?” Galatia had no idea why she had blurted that comment out. She must be more tired that she had thought.

Cadence smiled. “No dear, why would I be angry? You have finally decided to take up weapons. I couldn’t be happier. Harmony is a good choice for a teacher. Was she your choice?”

“No, Zaria asked her a couple of days ago if she would help us. We had all decided that it was high time for us to start learning what everyone else already knew.”  Despite the fact that she could barely keep her eyes open she was managing to make a considerable dent in the food. “Zaria didn’t know what she was asking at the time. But the grandmothers set us all straight.”

Cadence laughed lightly. Galatia couldn’t remember the last time that she had heard her mother laugh. “I bet that they did. My mother is a strict woman. I hope that you didn’t make her any promises that you will have trouble keeping.”

“No, I will have no trouble keeping anything that I told her I would do.” She took the time to chew this bite a little better. It had threatened to choke her. Cadence waited for her to continue. “Don’t worry mom, I didn’t make any outrageous promises.” Her plate was nearly empty and the yawns were getting harder to hold at bay.

“You’re tired dear. I’m sure that Harmony has plans for you girls tomorrow.” She watched as her daughter finished the last of her food and began drinking her juice. “I only have one question dear. I know that you broke up with Lance… so who gave you that nice array of hickeys?”

Galatia nearly spit her juice. She had been in such a hurry to shower and eat that she had neglected to actually look at the bruises on her body and what they might look like to others. There was probably no doubt that what her mother was looking at looked exactly like what they were… hickeys. She and Xena had gotten a bit… crazy the night before. She had no defense except youthful exuberance… that’s what Xena had said anyway. Xena had her own hickeys but she didn’t have to explain them this time. “Well… I did break up with Lance.” She began and found herself out of words.

“Let me help you out dear. Zaria gave you the hickeys and I have to assume that you gave her a few as well. Oh don’t look so surprised. I would have had to be blind not to see the way that you two have suddenly become inseparable and the looks that you were giving each other last night at the party weren’t exactly sisterly… not to mention the kissing of the fingertips when you were talking to the grandmothers… it all added up to one thing for me.” She concluded.

Galatia found it hard to look at her mother. “You’re not disappointed or angry are you?”

“No not for your relationship I’m not either of those things. But I would have liked to have been the one that you had come to first.”

She meant first before Harmony. “I’m sorry mother I…”

“No, it’s alright dear. I haven’t exactly given you any reason to confide in me. I hope to change the way that you and I treat one another.” She seemed to be hurt deeper than it had first appeared. “I am proud of you Galatia. I never could understand why you gave up your weapons… maybe I never will. But you have always been your own person and I should have respected that. You never wavered despite the pressure that me and your sisters put onto you. You have showed me a strength that makes all of us combined look like a willow switch. It may be a little late Gal but you have my admiration now. I can only hope that it is enough.”

Galatia thought back on the face of her daughter Hope as she had walked up to her in heaven. She had been apprehensive and uncertain… this was the look that Cadence was wearing now. “Of course it’s enough mother. I love you no matter what and I always knew that you would see me for who I am and be happy for that.” Somehow Galatia had always known that.

The two women rose from their seats and hugged. It had been a long time since Galatia had felt her mother hold her so completely and yet tenderly.

“Were we really that obvious at the party?” Galatia asked in her mother’s ear.

Cadence started laughing again. It was light and cheery like the sound of the wind in the Aspens.

“I guess that means, yes.” Galatia capitulated and then had to laugh as well.