by Nola Garrett
1. I never saw my grandmother twice with the same colored hair. Instead of the world, she traveled the spectrum— Tahitian Brown, Romanian Gold, Irish Red— without even the pretense of reclaiming tints once hers. I was so embarrassed, my teenaged self was mortified. My grandmother after years of misdagnosis died. Rather than her liver, it was her heart after all, but who could tell? As for myself, one October afternoon when earl snow on my unraked leaves looked like me peering out of my mirror at an old self, I wasn’t quite ready. Yet, my staid self departed on Light Brown # 7. 2. During my afternoon walk, I may have found a geode. Gray, hunched, a little off-center, it could be opened, perhaps to a scatter of sand or to an amethyst vault, or left alone like both my grandmothers. Oh, they married, raised their share of children, but as widows their lives began. Neither was a Mrs.— just Belle and Marie. Belle for a living sewed and mended, reused her basting thread, played church piano, read, bathed at her kitchen sink with multi-colored soap slivers. Marie watched TV evangelists, favored her richest son, dyed her hair a different color every month, window shopped daily, preferred rhinestones and orange. Disliking dogs, sticky children, and old men Belle and Marie each slept away in their small lavender rooms. I smile. I whisper back to them my middle name—Maribel.