Moraine (F)

“I still can’t believe you named her Moraine,” Jill said.  Liz had just re-filled their teacups with her latest concoction of herbal tea.  Another experiment gone wrong, Jill thought.

“Why not?  Moraine is a beautiful word.”

“If you like piles of gravel,” Jill teased.

“Stop thinking with your eyes. A glacier carries treasures lifted along with the ice for eons and only set down with great reluctance at the end of its life.  The gravel, as you call it, is then free to be lifted up again by the river it creates.  What could be a better name for a cherished child?”

“You must be talking about me,” Moraine said, entering the kitchen with a pile of school books. “And you’re trying to justify my name again.”  She eyed her mother with pretend annoyance.

Jill had to agree that this special girl deserved an unusual name. “Your mother was calling you a treasure, which seems appropriate,” she said.

“But did she tell you my nickname in grade school?” Moraine asked, her eyebrows raised.  “More,” she announced without waiting for her mother’s response.  “OK, I guess I was a bit chubby.”

“Not any more,” Jill laughed, envying her trim silhouette.  She glanced at Liz and saw her gazing wistfully at her daughter.

“Moraine has been accepted into Cambridge for her undergraduate studies.” Liz said, her eyes bright with pride.

“Congratulations.  That’s wonderful news, Moraine,” Jill said hugging her.  But she knew what a loss this would be for Liz and wondered how well she would cope.

Moraine, as if reading her mind, said “Mum’s work is taking up a lot of her time these days.  I doubt she’ll even notice I’m gone.  Besides, she still has you to experiment on.”  She lifted the lid on the teapot and frowned as the bitter aroma escaped.

“Of course I’ll miss her,” Liz said to Jill. “But communicating is a lot easier these days with e-mail and video calling.  When I was a student at Cambridge, my parents had to wait for snail mail.” She paused in thought. “I’ve threatened to install a chip so I can track her movements.”

“Yeah, like I’d ever allow that,” Moraine smirked.

“Isn’t Paul still in Cambridge?” Jill asked.  Paul and Liz had separated a few months after Moraine was born.

“Yes,” Liz said without enthusiasm.  “When we told him Moraine was coming over, we caught him off guard.  I think he was afraid he might have to be Daddy.”

“Oh Mum, I suspect he was concerned about my tuition.  He sounded relieved when I said I had a scholarship.”

Liz looked guilty.  “You’re right, and I’m glad that someone who loves you will be there to look out for you.”

Before Jill left that day, she told Liz she’d be around to talk whenever she wanted.  Liz squeezed her arm and said, “The problem with moraines is that the ice has to leave before they can form.”

***