My beautiful mother
Ella has set us the prompt Shades of Grey today at Poets United's Wonder Wednesday. She takes the title from the book of that name which is apparently all the buzz, and which I hadn't heard about until today. My first thoughts of grey were about hair. I don't - and won't ever - dye mine. I wear my strange mix of reddish grayish white proudly, it actually is a neat color, evolving from the red hair of my younger years. I earned every silver streak.
My aversion to dyed hair and makeup is the polar opposite of my mom. She dyed her hair all her life, until it became a pouffy white straw cloud. She always used pancake makeup and bright lipstick. The granddaughters thought her way cool and glamorous, and she was. She turned heads still in her seventies. I go au naturel and it works for me. If any heads turn, it is in disbelief, hee hee!
In her old age, my mother remembered,
walking into a dance hall, age sixteen,
her long blonde hair hanging down her back,
and how my dad jumped over the piano
and off the stage to beetle across the floor
to meet her.
That was it.
"The only man I ever loved,"
for the rest of her life.
When my step-father's hair
turned a lovely silver,
she decided to dye it black,
so he'd look younger.
Towel around his shoulders,
he'd sit, black rivulets
running down his face,
patiently enduring the indignity.
The dye didn't "take" very well,
so there were always black stains
on the pillows.
And when it rained, the dye
would start seeping down his face
and onto his overcoat,
drawing puzzled glances
from the other bus passengers.
"You've got to suffer to be beautiful,"
my mother always said.
She was beautiful,
all her life,
and, yes, she suffered.