Cherries in the Snow
I took one look at her and thought, oh no, that isn’t right, Jeesuus Chriiist, I’ll have to do it myself! The one time I didn’t do the hair and makeup, and on such an important occasion. I’d done the same old hair routine hundreds of times; wash, color rinse, roller set, dry – that stuffy old lady blue-haired tight curl, like the queen of England. And the lipstick was wrong too; she had used the same color since Revlon came out with it in 1942, Cherries in the Snow, or some such name.
I set to work, chatting to her the whole time. The blue outfit won’t work either, it makes you look too washed out; how about the peach pantsuit you wore to the fiftieth anniversary? Yes, that is much better, as I laid the jacket against her chest. Those finely tweezed arched eyebrows that were almost gone, needed the little pencil line she would draw in everyday. I then applied the dark lipstick over lips that refused to relax, and whispered it’s the best I can do Ma under the circumstances.
The hair was the problem - I wasn’t sure how I was going to get it dry. I didn’t have the big hooded dryer with me; the one she liked to sit under, having a cocktail, on our weekly ‘spa day’ visit. There was a blow dryer in the ladies room that did the job just fine. I told her all kinds of stories that day, as we prepared for the afternoon appointment. I was no cosmetician, but all in all, she looked much better when I was finished.
I held her hand, I did not cry. This was an ending and a beginning, of changes to come, new paths to journey forward upon. I said goodbye as the sound of Pachelbel’s Canon reached my ears, and drifted through the hushed quiet of the funeral home. Beautiful, gentle music by the harpist and organist we had hired to play her favorite songs would comfort us during the long hours of her wake.
©2010 Janice Stiles-Boults
Photograph courtesy of Willow
Willow, of "Life at Willow Manor", began Magpie Tales in February. Every week writers sign up and then post a poem or fictional story to go with a photograph prompt that Willow provides. Check out http://magpietales.blogspot.com/ to join in the fun!