On how I shine

“Your hair sparkles in the sun,” Jessica says as we walk along Massachusetts Street on a bright winter afternoon. I would like to believe this is because of how bouncy and shiny my hair is but I know she’s noticing all the silver in it. “It is like you sprinkled it with glitter.”

Considering the amount of gray hair I have, a certain percentage of which I owe to her, “sprinkled” is somewhat of an understatement. Still, I like the idea that I sparkle, that I’m not just getting older and tired of dyeing my hair.

We stop at a light. She’s looking at my hair, like she’s fascinated, and then she wraps a strand of it in her hand, the way she has done since she was three months old.

“Um, ow,” I say.

“Did that surprise you?” she asks, untangling her hand as the light changes and we cross the street.

“Surprise? No,” I say. “I know my girl by now.”

“Not everyone has hair that sparkles,” she says.

“That’s true,” I say, not feeling so lazy after all. I sparkle. I haven’t felt sparkly in a long time.

“Just people your age.”

“Um, ow,” I say.

She smiles and takes my hand. “You have a birthday coming.”

“I know! I just had one.”

“And there will be presents and cake and ice cream and flowers.”

“That sounds very nice.”

“I will help you pick out the cake and the ice cream. And the flowers.”

“You bet.”

She squints, looking me over. “Your hair is very sparkly today.”

“You mean as compared to last year? Or yesterday?”

She gives me her inscrutable smile. “Like someone sprinkled glitter all over you.”


My collection of travel stories, Travels with Jessica, is now available! Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here.

And I’ve published my essay “For Jessica” as a small book. Kindle and paperback here; other ebook formats here.

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1 comment

  1. Jennifer: A very Happy Birthday coming up this week! I love how Jessica sees and describes your sparkly beautiful hair. It gives me pause to think…why dye hair for so many years!

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