The Haircutting Party
"I am the one who buys her cigarettes, at first clandestinely so that her sister wouldn’t know she’d been smoking, then brazenly, when it occurred to me to defend Mom’s right to the little things that make her happy. This first morning cigarette, it has occurred to me, is her way of re-entering the world privately every morning, so that she can cry and then pull herself together after a bad night without me hovering.

Especially this morning, when she awoke to find clumps of hair on her pillow. One cigarette wasn’t long enough and she’s still weeping as she stands behind me making herself some oatmeal. My computer is in the kitchen. She has been trying to prepare herself for the hair loss from chemotherapy, but the rash kind of blindsided her and this barrage of indignities hits her worst in the morning when she is at low ebb. I bought her scarves last week, brought scarves with me from Europe, and when she starts wearing the wigs and turbans she is planning to buy, I will start wearing the scarves with her. I find them beautiful. "

From "A Bad Day"
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