I could tell when momma stood in my doorway, that the worst had happened.The hawk lies in pieces and dad with it.All his hopes and dreams dashed.He was immortalized as a hero but left us as a casualty.
The funeral was brief, the charred bones couldn’t make an appearance.Mom didn’t cry for her love but she grieved in her own, special way.
”Good morning, Harley”
I didn’t know the lady making pancakes in the blue dress, hair chopped short and close to the head. The sides of her head were basically skin and the top, for how short it was, reached for the ceiling.
But what made me realize, was the locket. The one daddy gave my mom the day he left, the day he signed the death warrant. Her photo before on the right, his on the left; his portrait from his high-school football team.He never let his small size deter him from raising hell for the state.
”Mom”,I squinted my eyes to confirm,”Wha…”
”I had my hair done this morning”, she told me, rubbing her shaven neck,”You like it”
”Why?”I blurted, not understanding my mother’s intent.It’s like she just said screw you to the woman who was wife to her man just before my dad fell cold and dead. She always loved her long, raven hair when he was kicking so why do away with it now? Did she hate her old self?
”A couple reasons”, she replied,”It was getting too long so I nipped it in the bud. And your father always had this style, even before the tour”
”But why”, I still couldn’t get it.
She started tearing up so I shut my mouth and finished breakfast. Her brash decision didn’t affect me at the time so I had to deal with this nearly bald lady til her hair grew back. The thing was, she never let it grow out.
Every month, she would bring me along to shape up her style. The place she went to have it done was low-key masculine. It was a hybrid of barbershop and beauty parlor, unisex staff: it was weird. She was weird.Her stylist, a bald, black woman with a bald head would delight in our appearance.
She liked my mom, even before her rash choice; they lost someone to sickness and health. They were basically sisters and they always supported each other, even when I couldn’t register their hive-mind.It was like clockwork for my mother to have this done and her barber, honey, knew exactly how to make her beautiful.
Honey invited me to get the style, an invitation I earnestly refused but thanked her for the offer. A high schooler showing up to Algebra with most of her head shaved: like no.But still, I came back and watched my mom’s hair fall to the clipper’s blades. She was relaxed during the whole process, closing her eyes, seeing her husband’s face in her fantasy.
The comb spiked up the top and the blades taking its fill.This was magical for her and who was I to judge?Maybe I will never understand her, I might hate her hairstyle but she is still the only thing on this earth that tethers me here so I must learn to get along with her at least.