A Wisp of Memory from the Mirror

The soft early morning light played through the window. My seven year old self sat on the landing at the turning of the stairs. No one was awake yet. Since we were at my Memére’s I was entertaining myself with my imagination. This early fairies may still be dancing circles in the grass. Ents may be sneaking back to their stillness.

My toes rubbed against the smooth fabric of the carpet on the stairs. In my memory it is a mossy green. A sensation crawled across the back of my neck. I looked back over my shoulder from the window. Dust motes sparkled in the air. The patterned wallpaper drew my gaze up and up and up the stairs.

Hovering there near the top was a figure draped in white. Silver hair streamed down and down and down waist length. I froze. A chill crept over me. Although I didn’t have a word for it at the time I stared wide eyed at the apparition sliding down toward me in the crook of the steps.

Finally regaining control of my legs, I fled through the house.

…..

Another slip of memory always floats close behind this one.

I stand hesitantly at the open bathroom door. My Memére L. stands before the mirror, no longer in her long nightgown. Her silver hair neatly brushed and swept around and around until all of it disappears into a tidy bun. Two small hairpins hold the waist-length locks in place.

I don’t know if those memories are of the same day. But they are the only times I ever saw Emma Lucas’ hair out of it’s tidy bun. The first time terrified me. The second fascinates me still. At first I wondered, why hide such silky silver hair? Later when her Alzheimers meant she could no longer manage her own hair, someone cut it short. She looked shorn and unlike herself. More and more days I find myself twisting my own hair into a bun. Simple. Easy to manage. My hair isn’t that long any more, but still I’ve never discovered how to tame it with pins. I’ve hoped for years that I would grow old as she did–still vibrant and full of life, even her hair still strong and beautiful.

 

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