Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 74
“Wook out, daddy. Don’t hit momma’s wig,” Allison says to me from her child seat in the backseat of our minivan.
I am filled with marvel over my two-year-old’s abilities to see so much better than her father. I saw the black hump in the road and had assumed it was some poor pet that had wandered into traffic. But it was what Allison said it was: a wig.
‘There’s surely a story there,’ I think.
But my attention needs to be on my daughter. I take a peek at her in the rearview mirror.
Is that a storm threatening to form in her eyes?
All things considered, she’s done a fine job of adapting to our new life together. Some days are rougher than others, of course – for both of us.
I’d forgotten that Chelsea had a black wig. But I preferred her natural, dirty blonde hair to all the froufrou of such contrivances.
“Humbug! I say! Christmas is a humbug.” I speak out one of the few lines Allison has memorized from our favorite Christmas movie.
“Christmas Carol,” my daughter shrieks gleefully. “Can we watch tonight? Will mommy be home tonight, daddy?”
I sigh. One step up, two steps back.
Before she’d met me, Chelsea had gone skydiving. Just once, but I still thought it was one of the bravest things I’d ever heard of anyone ever doing. I would never jump out of a plane.
But by comparison, I doubt jumping out of a plane can be any scarier than raising a kid. Especially for ‘reduced’ families like ours is. Eventually, you wing it. You can’t continue asking yourself after every minor decision how this action might wreck your kid, ruin her future and see her complaining about what a lousy father you’d been thirty years from now.
I flick the turn signal to turn right onto Parker. I take one last look at the pet/wig.
Seriously though, what was the story there? How does one lose a wig in the middle of the street?
“Bye, wig,” Allison says.
“I thought it was someone’s little…, “
Don’t go there. Not now. It will just invite another discussion, and I don’t have the energy for it this morning.
I had almost said doggie.
“Wig,” I say finally.
“You taught it was a wittle wig? Da wig in da woad?”
Her voice always makes me smile. But there’s been very little smiling around our house for four months, eighteen days, eleven hours, and approximately thirty-three minutes, I think as I eye the time on the van’s console.
Chelsea, like a lot of women, had put a lot of care and thought into her hair. When told it would fall out during the recommended treatments, she went out and bought wigs, seven of them.
“One for every day of the week,” she told me.
We both laughed.
This was just a bump in the road for us. We were grossly confident that we would look back and laugh about it, eventually. All of it had the feel of a classic, Chelsea and Scott adventure.
The wigs are still in her closet turned shrine.
I still can’t go in there without bawling. I doubt I ever will.
My new friends at the grief support meeting, tell me I will, I’m not so sure. I had the love of my life. We’d had occasional disagreements, but we never fought, never went to bed angry.
I miss her so much I feel like it will kill me.
But I keep going. I get up every morning, make Allison her breakfast, take her to daycare, go to work, do my job.
The joy I’d felt in doing anything had dissolved. The only time I felt joy now was when I was with my daughter.
So I get up, I keep moving. I show up. I don’t shower or shave as much as I should, but I show up.
For Allison’s sake, I will not give in to my grief.