#77 I, Isabel Scheherazade, experience what Olivia calls a frisson:* awe, wonder, almost spooky, but not as scary as spooky might be. A Way-Back-Seat memory wrapped around a Mom and Me object. I want to remember that memories attach themselves to pictures, objects, sounds, smells…or combs!!
Mimi finds the comb tucked in a folded newspaper clipping. Here’s our comb! She holds it up. But what’s this? she says when she spots Mom’s handwriting in the margin of the paper. “Show to ISABEL. She’ll LOVE it!”
A French scientist wanted to find out what kind of hair was the snarliest. He had hairdressers count tangles for a week. They found 5.3 snarls per head of straight hair and 2.9 per head of curly hair.
Mimi cradles the clipping like it’s a bird’s egg. Your Mom was always on the lookout, wasn’t she.
I twist one of my curls.
Mimi hunts for the date. It’s from June 13th, she says, and then Mimi and I look at each other. It was the morning paper from the day of the accident.
Mimi talks and smoothes the dateline. She must have read the article and wrapped it around the comb for the next morning snarl-out. Later that day your Pop and I came over to babysit. Mimi watches me as she figures it out. We came over to babysit so your Mom and Dad could go out to dinner…
…but we never had a “next-morning.”
We keep staring at the article, picturing what it meant and all. Then Mimi shakes herself and says, Let’s do it, Isabel. Let’s attack the tangles.
She gives me her silver-handled mirror to hold while she combs. I can see her face in it. As she works, we talk and meet each other’s eyes, like when Pop drives the car and looks in the rear view mirror to talk to us kids in the backseat.
I never did the hand mirror thing with Mom, so I like that this is a little different. While Mimi sprays the detangler she admires the comb. The teeth are spaced just right. Who would have thought of double rows? They’re the exact width for the knots! And these rounded tips! Sweet. She has me read the article again. Straight hair was snarlier than curly? She shakes her head. I never would have guessed!
Me either. I hold the mirror at different angles so I can see how my hair was coming along. Looks good, I say.
Mimi sighs. Well, that’s fine then. She hits the detangler spray button and digs into another section of wild hair.
And do you know?
Fine, I mean.