”Do I need bangs?” Mama folded her hair under and studied herself in the mirror.
“You look good without them, I wouldn‘t chance it.” I shrugged. I wasn’t much of a hair person and wasn’t sure if bangs would completely ruin her face or would add to its appeal.
We stood side by side in front of the mirror in Penny’s bathroom. Mama looked beautiful, as usual. She had on a simple navy gown that hugged her curves and highlighted her beautiful collar bones. It was Mama and Father’s thirtieth wedding anniversary, and Penny had arranged a huge party for them. She pulled out all the stops. The lights were low, servers wearing tuxes walked around with serving trays, a string quartet played, and all of my parents’ closest friends came bearing gifts.
“I want bangs.” Mama decided, shuffling through Penny’s bathroom drawers. She knew exactly where the scissors were.
“You came in without bangs, everyone at the party already saw you. Mama, don’t be silly! What if you hate them?” I had bad experiences with bangs in the past and hated to see her ruin her mood. I assumed that everyone there would have paid as much attention to Mama’s hair as I had, but the truth was that besides Penny and maybe Anna, no other guests would notice.
“Not short ones, just side ones.” Mama snipped away a panel of hair and smiled at her reflection, satisfied.
“Do you remember the time you cut your own bangs?” Mama teased, putting the scissors back into the drawer and playing with her silky smooth hair. She could easily be on a shampoo commercial.
“I do.” I stared at myself in the mirror and remembered…
“Addy! What in the world have you done to your hair?” Mama and Anna came into the kitchen where I sat on the counter with a pair of kitchen scissors and studied my reflection in the tiny compact that I had swiped from Mama’s makeup back.
“I look like Mama now.” I grinned, proud of my new hairdo. I managed to totally butcher my cute bangs that ran across my forehead, framing my face.
“What were you trying to do, honey?” Mama shook her head and Anna laughed at the sight of me.
“I wanted no bangs like you.” I had tiny little spikes standing up from my forehead.
“Honey,” Mama lifted herself on the counter beside me and took the scissor from me. “I didn’t cut my bangs off, I grew them out.” Mama pulled her hair forward and showed me that it was long, not short.
“Oh.” I pondered it for a minute, and then realized that I had made a big mistake.
Anna took the compact from me and headed out of the kitchen to study herself in the mirror, she was already vain even at three years old.
“Well, I think it looks pretty.” Mama gave me a squeeze. “It will grow back.”
“Mama, are you mad?” I felt my eyes fill with tears.
“No, beauty. Just don’t use the scissors again without asking.” Mama ran her hand along the prickly hairs and smiled. “Let’s go take a picture of you. This will be something to remember…”
“Is that why you about wet your pants at the thought of me cutting my bangs?” Mama teased.
“Probably so! But they look nice.” I smiled into the mirror and both faces in front of me smiled back. “It is not even noticeable.”
“Told ya! Well we’d better get back out there! I can’t wait for Robert to the see what I got him!”
“What did you get him?” I admitted the fact that thirty years was a long time, but it would have been more of an anniversary to celebrate if Father had spent those years being faithful to her.
“You’ll see!” Mama slid a plum colored lipstick across her lips and headed back out to the party. It was hard for me to smile and celebrate a marriage that was obviously a lie. Father held Mama close and kissed her after he opened his antique pocket watch, and I looked down at the floor. They really looked like they loved each other, but I wasn’t buying it. Maybe she loved him, but if he loved her he would have never strayed.
“Don’t you want to be just like them someday?” Anna swooned as Father took Mama into his arms for a dance. Anna was standing with Joe Haynes, her on again off again boyfriend, and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Not really.” I rolled my eyes and headed out onto the deck for some air.