posted in: Family 3
Combing Hair by Hashiguchi Goyo, Japan, 1920, Woodblock print, Honolulu Museum of Art. Image: Wikipedia
Combing Hair by Hashiguchi Goyo, Japan, 1920, Woodblock print, Honolulu Museum of Art. Image: Wikipedia

To celebrate Easter, Claus and I took a bike ride to the lakefront.

We rode for some time, then needed a snack. Since Claus had not seen Navy Pier yet, we steered our bikes that way. I was happy to see that Navy Pier has gotten at least a partial facelift since I was last there. There are many more food options and there was a mini-Tiffany glass exhibit courtesy of Chicago’s Driehaus family, a family that has an entire museum in the Gold Coast dedicated solely to exhibiting their Tiffany glass pieces. The Driehaus family probably owns Navy Pier, so maybe the exhibit today is there because they needed extra storage. Either way, it was great.

On the way home, we got caught in the cold wind and rain that hit around 5pm. That was hard, riding home in that. We arrived in soaked jeans. My hair was plastered to my head and my glasses were pointless. Now hungry for actual dinner, Claus and I decided to take time only to get dry and then go back out for a hamburger; we also decided to take umbrellas.

Claus put his jeans over a chair and dried them with my hairdryer. I came over and sat by him while he did it. It was funny: to get the legs dry he put the nose of the hairdryer into the cuff and the air blew up the leg like there was a real leg in there.

The German looked over at me and said, “Mary, your hair is still very wet.” And he turned the blowdryer on my hair. He used his fingers to ruffle it the way you do when you dry someone’s hair, tousling it this way and that. The warm air blew all over my head and it was bliss to feel it on my neck, blowing just under my collar.

Then something strange happened. Suddenly, my eyes teared up. And my chest hurt.

I realized it that what he was doing was what my mother — even my father, if we go back further — did when I was a little kid. The sense memory hit me like a truck. The warm air on my neck, the large hand on my head, and the feeling of being helped in getting warm after being cold from playing outside. Though people touch our heads and blow-dry our hair in a salon, there is none of this connection there. Night and day.

I turned to Claus and I swear my lip trembled as I said, “That feels really good. Can you keep doing it?” He was a little surprised and said of course he could and was I okay?

Mostly okay.