I Never Got to Tell You This


My husband sat me down last night for a talk about his hair. He’s been growing a ponytail during quarantine and I’m not a fan, so when he told me he had some news I thought, Oh God, what next? Dreads?

Turns out he’s getting his hair cut. And he’s pretty sad about it. “It doesn’t look good,” he said. “It’s thin. And stringy.” Inside me did a happy dance. Outside me stayed perfectly silent. I know a marital test when I see one.

“I grew it long because it brought me back to my days in the music business. I love the way I feel with long hair. That’s my true self. But then I look in the mirror and I realize it’s just stupid.”

Inside me: “You got that right.”

Outside me: “Do you want company? I can wait in the car so you don’t have to get it cut alone. We can go out for ice cream after.”

“I just. I don’t know. I’m thinking if I keep the sides long maybe the stylist will come up with a way to hide the thinning.”

Inside me: Mentally searches for the scissors in case I have to do the job myself.

Outside me: Fakes a smile.

“I kept my hair long because it made me different. Like, special, you know? I have such a generic face.”

The world stops and I wait for it to go right again. It doesn’t though–the word ‘generic’ has tilted me.

He comes home a little later, his hair cut very short, and holes up in his office. Inside me and outside me dissolve into each other like two candle flames coming together, but he’s not in the mood to talk. So I haven’t had a chance to tell him till now, on the eve of our nineteenth anniversary:

My exquisite, soul-deep, once in a lifetime love. If the whole world turned dark, or if I went suddenly blind, or lost my mind, you would never have a generic face to me. I would find the light in your eyes in an underwater sea. I would know your mouth from the barest hint of your lips. I would recognize the exact line of your nose even in a faraway dream.

The very shape of your face is imprinted on my hands, etched into my heart and even if God separated us I would find my way back to you by feel.

If your hair is long and golden like the songs you sing to me, or disappears into tomorrow, my love. There could never be anything generic about you.