She wooshed through the door, clearly on a mission. She was tall, lean and tanned, dressed in a mini skirt, tank top, gladiator sandals, with a beanie on her head. Definitely not your ladies doing lunch country club type we often saw. She had a bit of a biker vibe going on and looked as though life had played a little rough with her over the years.
She was clearly choosing life…
In spite of the wear and tear, she had a great sparkle in her eye and I’m sure pretty sure she had a trunk full of really good stories to tell for her efforts.
And her Motorcycle Hair
Today though, she was on a mission. She needed some hair, motorcycle hair to be exact. With zero shame or inhibition, she popped off her beanie, exposing a perfectly smooth bald head and began trying wigs on. As she posed in the mirror, assuming her best bad ass Wonder Woman stance, she would assess the look. Biting her bottom lip, tilting her head side to side, she would eventually shake her head no, indicating it wasn’t the one. A platinum bob, a sandy blonde shag, long brunette curls…nope, none of them quite right.
She eventually made her way to a wig on the top shelf…long, straight shiny auburn tresses. Fiery red, just like she must have been at some point in the not so distant past. She turned her head side to side, letting the hair skim her shoulders and slide across her back. For a split second her eyes welled up a bit; this was obviously the one.
I asked her what her plans were for this new motorcycle hair. Shaking off the tears that had threatened to overtake her, she stood up tall and with a determined smile answered, “Headed to Vegas, on the back of a Harley”.
Working in a store catering to women with cancer, I had grown accustomed to the various stages of grief women experienced as they attempted to come to terms with a potential death sentence. Some were type A, reading everything they could get their hands on. To quote Matt Damon in “The Martian”, they were determined to “science the shit” out of their situation. They strictly adhered to a regimented healthy lifestyle with organic everything; combining the best of both eastern and western treatment modalities. Some were simply shell shocked, too stunned yet to know what they needed. And some had clearly just given up, swallowing the soul crushing finality of the doctor’s words as truth. That’s the one I dreaded most, as they always left a heavy and haunting imprint on me.
But now I had this…it was all I could do to keep from hugging her. This is how it should be! Thank you Jesus for this woman. I now had Motorcycle Hair to add to my list of stages.
She gave me the Reader’s Digest version of her life up to this point. She was 38 now, had given birth to a son at 16, started smoking soon after and now had the stage four cancer to show for it. Life had indeed been rough.
She had been through rounds of both chemo and radiation and now the doctors told her it was time to go home. The cancer was not responding; it had metastasized and there was nothing more they could do for her. Things with her son had been tough over the years and he wasn’t very accepting of her current situation. She was headed out to Vegas on the back of a friend’s Harley to feel the wind whip through her hair and to say goodbye to her boy one last time.
So fiery red it was…motorcycle hair that fully represented the warrior she had embodied up to this point. A few adjustments by our wig fitter and she was on her way.
I am not sure what happened to her after that day but I have a picture in my mind. I can clearly see her flying down the 15 freeway on the back of that bike, through the desert; Vegas, a shiny mirage in the distance, beckoning to her one last time.
I pray I am warrior enough to choose my version of motorcycle hair when the time comes. What color will your hair be?