When I was six or seven, my mom still did my hair for me.
She’d try to draw an even line through my scalp, one beige outline on my raven head, for pigtails.
They were always lopsided, with one red, one yellow hair tie. Never matching.
Sometimes we’d be running late for school and she said she’d do my hair in the car.
My siblings would run out the door but I’d stay in the car with my mom, while she hastily drew the comb line on my head. Sometimes she pulled too hard and I winced.
I’d panic, not wanting to be late for morning prayer, and hate walking in when everyone looks at you. Wondering why you’re late, why your misaligned pigtails don’t match.
But my Mom always did my hair, wanting it to look right. She always wanted the best for me.
She called me this morning, wanting to know how my class was going, if I like teaching.
She asked if someone will bring me an apple to be teacher’s pet. She softly cackled to herself.
She wanted to know if I was the kind of teacher that forgave lateness.
I suspect my students will be tardy, but I doubt the reason will be to collect anxious minutes in the car with their mom,
lining up pigtails
and glances in the rearview mirrow.