I cringed in embarrassment when the photographs were developed. Why couldn’t I have a normal Mom, like most teenagers I knew at school?

It was bad enough the stunts she pulled, but why couldn’t she be like other people in these modern times? Who bothered getting their photographs made into print these days? The images should remain on their cellphones or computers.

But yeah, my Mom had to be different from everybody else. She wanted the world to see her dressed up in her finery. She even had the photo-lab make her extra-large copies. So now every time I went into a room in our house, Mom was grinning down at me from every available surface she could find to place her photographs.

“Doesn’t she look lovely?” my step-dad Sizwe grinned at me across the kitchen table. Mom smiled and kissed him softly on the lips. I shook my head in disgust. Here I was at nearly seventeen years of age, having to watch my own mother act and behave like a love-struck teenager. In a nutshell their behaviour was making me sick. It was gross!

Mom looked across the table at me and shrugged. She was sifting through the rest of the photographs. “I can’t find one of you smiling, darling,” she crooned to me as if I was seven years old. “Why are you positively glowering in every image?” she said mildly, pushing the batch of photographs across the table at me. And yes, there I was, morose. The expression, which was more appropriate for a funeral than a wedding, was because of my mother’s insistence that I wear a dress with elaborate frills and bows to her wedding.

Mom had married Sizwe two weeks ago this Saturday. I’m not the type of teenager who’s into frills and bows. Outside of school I prefer wearing my washed out, faded blue jeans, T-shirts and black trainers. I had even tried wearing jeans to my Mom’s wedding. She had gone berserk.

“Sizwe, speak to her!” she had cried at him. “I’m going out for some fresh air.” I had never seen my Mom so upset.

“Please Masego,” he begged me. “It’s a special day for your Mom. I want our wedding to be special.”

“I realise that, Sizwe. Really I do. But it’s bad enough that the dress is pink. I hate bright colours. Then there are all the bows and frills.”

“What colour of dress would you like to wear then?”

“Black jeans,” I said, watching his expression.

He had the grace to laugh. Sizwe and my Mom had been living together for two years before they decided to get married. I’d always got on well with him. Sizwe was the father I never had. He was kind and good-natured. He made my Mom happy and that’s what was important. But then my Mom is the most upbeat, positive person I’ve ever known.

One would think I’d be happy about it, but I wasn’t. We were on two very different levels. Her whole, happy-go-lucky personality actually depressed me.


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