Thursday, September 18, 2008

When I was a little girl, my mother’s signature shade of lipstick was Pink Lightning. I thought it was such a dangerous name, exotic. I marveled at her ability to swipe it across her full lips barely glancing in the mirror. I inherited my daddy’s small mouth and narrow lips. It practically takes an artist’s brush to paint my lips without flaw.

And a far steadier hand than I have this morning.

In the hallway beside our family room, we have a collage of photos that Mama made some years ago. In it is a picture of my parents when they were in their early twenties. They are standing in thick grass flanked by flowering bushes. They are facing each other rather than the camera. He holds both of her hands in both of his. He is tall and dapper in his light suit. She is stunning in her dark organza dress. They are smiling.

Such fresh-faced innocents. Untouched yet by the war that loomed in their futures. Unencumbered by the children they would devote their lives to shortly. Free of the fragile mothers they would willingly sacrifice their own privacy to care for with love more than duty.

This morning – the first morning of my life that I do not have my mama’s physical presence – this morning they wake together for the first time in more than two decades. And I know that they will look exactly the way they do in that picture when they dance to the Glen Miller Orchestra today while sweet pink lightning streaks across the heavens in celebration.