Brushing Worries Out and Memories In

She sat with her back to me.

On the edge of the bed, caught somewhere between old age and wondering when time allowed her grow up.

Her salt and pepper hair, the longest it had ever been, laid damp down her back.

In that silent moment before she realized I was behind her, I wondered when the last time someone had brushed her hair.

She had spent the a good time of my childhood, laboring over my long kinky hair. Using combs, detanglers, and patience over patience, to straighten, seperate and style.

She would endure my yelling, my screaming, my tenderheaded foolishness, and continue to make sure I looked presentable.

If it was my choice, I probably would have shaved it off or allowed it to turn into a tangled, tortured mess requiring no upkeep and leaving my hair only suitable for a rats nest, if they would have it.

But, it was not my choice.

Even with the pain and dramatics that ensued when doing my hair, there was always a moment of serene peace my mother brought me. The moment all the kinks are gone,the brush slipping delicately through the hair, caressing my head and brushing away all worry or doubt for the day.

She would listen raptly to anything I would tell her, consume every morsel of information, never judging or criticizing, just listening with an open heart.

When was the last time anyone had done that for her?

Here she sat before me, with a strength and fragility I had never seen. The kind that is only ever exposed right before we put our battle masks to go into the world.

The rawness of our humanity sneaking up on us.

In this moment before a flutter of busy hands and finesse fingertips, before the parade of lotions and creams are coerced out to perform their morning dance, before clothes are planned and picked, I seen my mother.

I saw her as a young child, trying on her mothers shoes and too big dresses. I saw her laughing with her sisters while putting on mascara for the first time. I saw her burn the dress she wore to her mothers funeral swearing she would never need to see it again. I saw her anxiously apply lipstick for a first date. I saw her tired hands twist up her hair under a wig for simple conveinence. I saw her fighting with a bratty child to do her hair. I saw her make the decision to cut her hair short because it hurt her back to hold her hands up for too long of times to style it. I saw her make the decision to grow her hair out again because it has been too long since she had done something different.

I saw myself wondering how I never noticed she was growing older, attempting to fool myself into believing she was immortal. I saw myself reflecting, like she does in the early morning, wondering where the days have gone and what was in store for the days left on this earth.

I saw myself one day sitting on her bed crying because she was gone. Kicking myself for not taking time to listen to the stories she wanted me to know, wanted to tell me.

I wondered if she lost herself.

I wondered if I ever knew her.

I wondered if she would want to share some of who she was with me before I knew her.

Before I changed her.

Before the world changed her.

I did not want to wonder anymore.

I grabbed the brush and tenderly pulled it through her hair. Feeling her sigh deeply, it resonated with my soul.

She turned with a small smile on her face, the worry of the world floating away, and told me 'good morning dear child'.

I asked her to tell me story.

I wanted to hear anything and everything she was willing to tell me.

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