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The baby blue wooden porch creaked as if I hadn't been there in years. I stepped up to the door mat that read, “Welcome”, in a worn out classic font and brushed off the mud living under my sneakers. As I turned the doorknob, a voice echoed from within the house as if it knew I was was coming.
“I’m up here Robbie! Come give me a hand!” she yelled.
I didn't respond. I didn’t even know what to say. Jennifer and I never really talked, that is, until she got sick. In my younger years, she woke up to early mornings and worked very late hours at the salon to support myself, along with Jeremy. Hair was her everything, her prized possession. She yearned to go to work everyday to embellish the looks of others through her passion of hair. Although she worked really hard, I didn’t really need much monetary support from her as I was doing well balancing school with my day job at the market. Jeremy, on the other hand, needed formula, diapers, and all the various necessities a toddler would need and therefore was very much dependent on her. She tried to do the best she could under the circumstances.
She ultimately decided she wanted to spend her last few days cleaning out the house before she passed. I figured the voice came from the attic because that's where all the old junk she collected was placed over the years. I climbed up the hanging ladder that extended from the ceiling of the main hallway; I looked around and made an attempt at looking for Jennifer through the various piled boxes and suitcases that were thrown around. As a crawled across the small space provided, my foot crossed one of the many mouse traps laid out. SNAP!
"Ouch!" I screeched.
"Jesus Robbie, you scared the life out of me," she gasped out of breath.
"Wow...you look different..." I blurted moments after seeing her face to face.
The new shine on her naked head was difficult at fist glance, but each moment I blinked seemed easier to adapt to the new her. She touched her head every time I looked at her and she immediately tried switching the topic of conversation.
“Look at this Robbie," she said. "I found this in my boxes when I was cleaning out.”
She yanked out her first tools of the trade: hairdryers, curling irons, flat irons, and big pink clad scissors.
"This was my first set," she said as she caressed the hairdryer.
I felt a lump in my throat.
"Here, let me help you out with that...mom."
I wasn't ready to lose her forever.