Life After Love
The ceiling fan whirled, a speed that seemed manic, way too fast. For a moment I pondered what might happen if it came off its hinges, randomly beheading the various other occupants of the waiting room. Might be fun, I thought. Might be.
I glanced over at mom. Her eyes were closed, beads of perspiration rested lightly on her forehead, just above her painted-on eyebrows. And above her lips. It was hot, was their air conditioner broke? I’d never get used to the Florida humidity. I’d arrived only two weeks earlier, when dad called and said, “You’d better come now.”
I scanned the room for the a.c. unit, saw one way back toward the corner near the toy basket. Near the bald kid, about five, playing with the Bert hand puppet. I shuddered, wondering how many other kids had put their hands up that same toy. Germs gross me out. I wiped my hands on my lap.
The couple across from me kept staring. I thought mom’s wig might be askew. As usual, we’d argued that morning about which one she’d wear with today’s muu-muu.
“I like the black hair better,” I’d said. It was long, Cher reborn, in those Sonny and Cher, I Got You Babe, days. “It makes your blue eyes pop.”
“Pop?” She’d said, like any word was an effort to get out. “That wig is too strange. The hair gets caught in everything. No, I’ll wear the short blonde one.”
Ugh. She looked like a Shitzu. Or Ethyl Mertz. No, the black one suited her better. Now, sitting there, I thought of mom as Cher, with her hair streaming out behind her, singing, “Do you believe in life after love, after love, after love…”