When I stepped out of the teleporter, the first thing I saw was my mother, her back towards me. Her hair permed and snow-white. Well, it always had been, and she was wearing the vermillion cashmere sweater I had bought her for Christmas over her knee-length crimson skirt. She was always one for the classic look.
“Your late, son,” she said hearing me step down from the pad. “I made your favourite,” she continued unaware of my hesitation, stooping to take something out of the oven.
The sweetness of blackberries, the thickness of caramelised sugar, and the warmth of crumble baked to perfection drifted over me. Cocooned in a cloud of warmth, feeling like her arms were holding me again when I was just seven years old with a bruised knee and tears in my eyes. I just stood there, mouth open slightly.
She looked at me, tilting her head inquisitively, a smile forming amidst her powder-puffed wrinkles.
“Well, sit,” she said, gesturing towards the table with an oven-mittened hand. Eddies of steam lazily drifted above the pie in the late-afternoon light through the net-curtained window.
I sat down.
The teak dining table was polished as usual, with a few specks of dust drifting in and out of the sun’s light. The clock ticked slowly on the wall. A few pots waited in the enamel-coated butler’s sink for their inevitable wash-down. A glass of white wine glinted in the light, frosted on the outside. The teak wall-cupboards were all closed, the terracotta tiles wiped clean and everything else neatly in its place.
I hung my head and started to cry.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“The teleporter malfunctioned.”
“It’s OK, honey,” she comforted. “We all do. That’s why I made your favourite.”