I have never doubted that my parents loved each other, and I have borne witness to one too many of their more vicious fights. Through it all, in the almost thirty-eight years before my mother died, they stuck together. They were hopefully devoted to each other.
"We are strange and wonderful," my father used to say. "She's strange and I'm wonderful."
For as long as I can remember, my father has had ice white hair. It started changing to that hue when he was twenty-four, and was finished when he was thirty. There have been those who have cracked wise and asked what I did to him. My response was always that his hair color was the farthest thing from my fault and perhaps my mother should be queried.
Back when my mother first got sick and started treatment, she experienced a little nausea and another nap than usual, but she was doing all right. My father said she was full of piss and vinegar. The same piss and vinegar that sustained her for eighteen months. Back then, she was still keeping herself active; going to get hay and working with her dogs. It gave us hope. Back then, in talking to her, she didn't sound like anything was even remotely wrong.
My father would relate all of this to me over the phone. He told me of taking her to one of the sickhouses and wandering through the monoliths of downtown whilst my mother was treated. My father told me of a particular bit of business he engaged in on my mother's first day of chemotherapy. Something he found important and the right the thing to do.
My father went calling on a barber. And that barber cut my father's ice white hair off. All of it. My father had a buzz-cut.
"Your mother's probably going to start loosing her hair and I wanted to show her that you could be bald and still be pretty," my father said that day, three years ago now. Then, because he is my father, he went on to say; "And I look pretty goddamn good!"
Call me simpy and accuse me of wearing pink by choice if you like, but that's the sweetest thing I have ever heard of anyone doing...
I am not romantic, and have never claimed to be. Anyone who would tell you different is either daft or trying to sell something. However, if I ever decide to try being romantic if I grow up, I want to be just like my Dad.