My Mother’s Dress

My Mother’s Dress
(The Dematerialization of My Mother’s Clothes)

After my mother’s death I was left with her clothes: dresses, scarves,
blouses, underwear. The forlorn dresses hung in the wardrobe, all silent
on their wooden hangers. One of them was a conservative black woollen
dress of a primary school teacher. Another, colourful one of crepe-de-
Chine, was the one my mother used to wear for more festive occasions.
What do to with all that had been left over after she herself had passed
away? Recalling how my mother had shredded the old clothes into even
strips to make carpets out of them, I also cut her dresses into nice even
shreds – an endless ribbon – and spooled them into balls one after
another. I cut everything into ‘fringes’ as my mother used to call them.
Thus the clothes were dematerialised, converted into balls that are like
the atoms with electrons inside, atoms that contain the nucleus of the
matter. „What beautiful material – I shall make a dress of it for myself”,
had my mother said. The word ‘dematerialise’ seems to contain both
words ‘matter’ and ‘мать’ (‘mother’ in Russian, pronounced [mat]).
And as a result all that was left were the shadows of the dresses on the
walls, bare hangers on nails, heartache and a velvety photo album. And
many colourful atom-balls that now make up my reality, home of silence
upheld by love and memory.

Leonid Tishkov