Your head is flat in back, Josie the hair stylist said. So's mine.
Did you just say my head is flat? I couldn't believe my ears. I have been complaining that the back of my head is flat for my entire life, and Q has spent our entire marriage denying it. No, he says, it's round. It's fine. I can't believe a smart woman like you even thinks of such things.
Yeah, Josie said. Right here. She put her hand on the flat spot, the same flat spot I've disliked all these decades. Mine, too. I look so weird in a ponytail.
Me, too. The feeling of personal vindication was overwhelming. My husband has been telling me for years that my head isn't flat, and I've been telling him for years that it is.
Oh, he's just trying to make you feel better, she said. That's so sweet.
You're absolutely right.
He picked me up at the train station. You look really beautiful, he said,
I didn't even say hello first.
My head is flat. My hairstylist said so. A professional second opinion.
My mother lay me on my back when she put me to bed, and it made my head flat. I lay my babies on their tummies, because Dr. Spock said to -- the heads of these beautiful young women, by the way, are perfect and round. Now all babies are placed on their backs to sleep, because parents are afraid of Sudden Infant Death, so we'll be raising a generation of flatheads unless we do something, and fast. Maybe they should all just go on their sides.
Q put his hand on the flat place, as he has done many times before. Always before he would put his hand there and then say it was round. Now he changed his tune.
Oh, yeah. I guess so. Just in that one little place.
It's really nothing.
It's why I look so stupid in a ponytail, I explained, trying to be patient.
You do? I would think a ponytail would be just the thing, wouldn't it?
A lot you know.
It's hard to believe a smart woman like you even thinks of such things. He was starting to repeat himself.
Well, he said, An eighth of my scalp is exposed to the elements, and I never think about it. This is true. We refer to Q's bald place in back as "Old Eighth," and we only laugh about it. He never worries about it, or tries to hide it. He does wear a hat a lot, because Old Eighth gets cold in winter and sunburned in summer.
That bust of Nefertiti the Egyptian queen, whose carriage was so elegant, all those thousands of years ago: her head was beautifully curved in back, and her crown emphasized this beauty. So many women today walk out into the world completely bald because of their chemotherapy, content and brave to show forth their skulls, beautifully shaped under the newly exposed skin, growing in the downy beginnings of their new hair -- a badge of courage in the face of illness.
I think of myself bald. Flat Head. A hat? A scarf? A wig? We shall see -- when that time comes, I will work with it. It will not have been the first time things didn't go my way, and it won't be the last. Everything will change: the way we look, the way we talk, the way we think. Everything has changed already, and everything will keep on changing. That's all right. None of it was ours to keep anyway.
Upcoming retreats and Quiet Days with Barbara Crafton
This weekend, 2/9-2/11: Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Southern Pines, NC. http://www.emmanuel-parish.org/
Next weekend, 2/16-2/18: St. Paul's, Fayetteville, Arkansas http://www.stpaulsfay.org/
Saturday, 2/24 Comunity of St. John Baptist, Mendham NJ
Thursday, March 1st, Geranium Journey to Christ Church, Oyster Bay, LI http://www.christchurchobay.org/
Mar 2-4, Cathedral of the Nativity, Bethlehem, PA,
See the Farm's website for more: http://www.geraniumfarm.org/