"All perfect stories start at dusk", my mother would say. Ask her why and she'd reply, "It's the only time of the day when true magic can happen. When the sky is purple not black, and the sun shares her sky briefly with the new stars and moon". My father would always laugh and say the same could be said for sunrise, but mother knew best and always had a retort, like "Morning is no time for magic, the sleep in your eyes prevents it." or something else along those lines. My father would tell me when we were alone that Mother must have had some fairy in her blood. He said it in such a way that made me laugh, but I could always see that was what he loved most about her. This was all before my father died.
Mother was never herself again, and blamed herself. I could hear her yelling in her sleep, asking for her to be taken instead. Taken how, I never understood, my father died of a heart attack. Slowly, we returned to normal day life, minus my father, and minus half of mother's spirit. She became so otherworldly; I began to worry about her. She would prattle to me more about magic in the twilight, and somehow without Father, it seemed foreign and asinine. I began to wonder why I used to find her stories so alluring. She told them less and less, till years had gone since I heard them.
She started to disappear next, for days on end. When she returned from wherever she was she look tired and spent, but someone younger, and there was more laughter about her. By the time I had reached twenty, six years since Father had died, I really felt as if I had never known my mother, that she was someone new. It was true, that if you mentioned my father, she would look her old self again, but she had changed, in a way I couldn't understand. I had been at school for two years, only coming home for holidays, it wasn't till I took a year off when I finally understood what mother had always meant. All perfect stories start at dusk.
I had been at school, and not having a good time of it, and it was Mother who finally insisted I come home for a break. The drive home from the airport was strange, she didn't seem to care that I was so down. I had made a new life for myself, new friends, new home, but it all fell apart, somehow I had lost all my friends, and alienated myself, but mom didn't seem to care.
"Aren't you even going to ask me how school was?" I asked her on the ride home.
"It doesn't matter," she sighed, "now you'll be safe home with me."
That seemed to finish the conversation for her, and we rode in silence the rest of the way home.
She had completely changed our home since I had last visited at Christmas. The whole house was filled with potted plants, and herbs, the air was muggy, wet, and oddly sweet. At least she had left my room relatively the same, except for two plants, by my door and by my window.
"Never mind those, but leave them where they are" she warned me.
A few months of being at home, taught me to ignore my mother's eccentricities, she would leave for a week at a time and always come home happy and glad to see me, yes, but she also seemed to always be half gone, where was she going all this time? If I ever asked her, she would laugh, and say, it didn't matter, and that "ignorance is bliss".
Mother finally vanished for a month, and then two, yet, there was always money to buy food and pay the bills. When she returned after 5 months, she seemed as if she had forgotten me.
"Yes, you are my daughter," she happily recalled upon her return, "Mildred, you are safe still."
"Yes, I'm safe, but are you Mother? Why do leave? Where do you go?" I asked her.
"To a place to save you, spare you, because I couldn't spare your father!" she had sobbed.
After that I let her leave, and do as she pleased, I couldn't bring myself to confront her about my father, and what she had meant. Oh that I had the courage then. My adventures would never have happened.