‘Have you been sick?’ not welcome question if you haven’t
Yesterday as I dusted the bookcase I took extra time looking over old photographs that I had found in my mother’s things. I had picked out the favorite ones from my childhood and framed them. They give me a lot of joy when I look at them.
My favorite is one of my sister and brother and me on vacation in Florida. It appears to be at a beach house, and we are posing in descending birth order down the steps. We all have on our bathing suits and my sister’s and mine match. It was a glorious suit, one piece with a little ruffle around the bottom. The colors were of the rainbow and the material was iridescent. I loved that suit and remember it in vivid detail. I would have been seven, my sister five and my brother just two. I don’t remember the trip at all but I’ll never forget how I felt in that suit.
As I looked longingly and lovingly at that picture I was caught off guard when I noticed for the very first time that the haircut I had at seven and the haircut I have now are just alike.
Whoa! How does a woman go through life with the same haircut for fifty years?
Is this intentional, I think, or just habit? I looked at another photo. In this one I was just two or three same haircut. I quickly scanned for another picture and there I am in the fourth grade same haircut. Oh my goodness. That is depressing. Really the only thing that has changed is the color or lack of color in my hair. I’ll admit I’ve been thinking lately about shaking things up a bit and perhaps coloring my hair. I spent Thanksgiving with my sister and her family and she colors her hair. I have no opinion about whether I like hers better colored or gray because I have never seen her with the latter.
This morning I went to town to do my regular weekly shopping. It was cold out so I layered my clothing with a shirt, sweater and jacket. I paid particular attention to my dress and hair and face. I thought I looked pretty good or as good as I thought I could look. As I checked out at the grocery store the clerk asked, "Have you been sick?"
I hesitated before I answered, not sure where that question was going. I finally stammered, "Well, I haven’t felt real good lately." That was not the truth; I felt great. In fact I felt particularly great today and thought I looked nice, and put together.
She shot back with a sweet smile; "Well, you look like you’ve been sick."
Well now exactly what does that mean? I scurried out to the car with my purchases and hurriedly threw them in the trunk. I got into the car and pulled down the vanity mirror. I scanned my face at close range. What am I missing? What does she see that I don’t? I look again and I don’t get it. I pretty much look today like I did yesterday and the day before and so on and so forth.
I can’t ask anyone’s opinion because everyone I know is working and now that I have become a Plum Point "bum" I spend my days without companionship. Dear Don certainly has to work because, well, somebody has to, right? I guess I will have to wait until he comes in late this afternoon and see what he says. He always says the right thing.
By then the light will be fading and perhaps I won’t look as sickly as I obviously did at the grocery store this morning. Perhaps I should nap before he returns. That might make my pallor more presentable. But first I’m gonna take a second look in my bathroom mirror. The truth is there I bet. You get the picture.