Claire and Carol

Their un-pigmented hair exclaims their wisdom, but I cannot assume their reputation. Character comes only from two sources, how others see a person, and interactions with the world around you. Carol sits still in the living room while I work on Claire’s starch white hair. It falls in ringlet curls around her face; it has a history. From birth until now it has slowly lost the pigment that she was born with due to living life the way it should be led, long and chaotic and unpredictable, very unpredictable. In fact that morning when I woke up I did not know this couple; we were half strangers. Their white hair intrigued me as I walked through the door to greet them for the first time, Pauline, their daughter is our mutual liaison. As I cut Claire’s hair I was fully in tuned to her life’s story. She told me how her and her husband met before the war, started a family and had three children, she was a stay at home mom, unheard of these days, and Carol was a truck driver. In the far corner of the living room was a picture hanging of him in his prime with a child on his lap, hand painted by his daughter. It was the only personal possession in the room. By know I had a sense of who they are and who they were, by their interactions with each other I can say that these two have been together through the good and the bad, definitely more good than bad. Claire could get around fairly well, she was Carol’s caregiver for the most part. I told him that it was his turn for a haircut and he managed to get up from his recliner and walk to the chair at the kitchen table in a little under 15 minutes. Meanwhile Claire continued to smile at me and I smiled back at her hoping that she wasn’t feeling bad for my wait, I was in no hurry. Carol’s domineer was quite frail and he was quiet while I trimmed his too white hair. As it feel to the floor the more human he began to look. It had been a long time since he had a haircut due to the fact that he was not able to leave their home any more. His only words were thank you after telling him how handsome he looked. It seems as though a man with few words speaks volumes with a smile and that is what they both did that day. I cleaned up the hair and went on my way hoping to see them again just before Valentine’s Day. That is the life they live now, strangers passing in and out to accommodate their everyday needs; not knowing their past, their reputation. With every new stranger there becomes a certain new reputation that is built. Of course one would assume that a beautiful older couple, feeble and soft spoken wouldn’t have a past filled with strife and chaos, let alone skeletons shoved in the closet. Yet such as life goes, with time the past fades and people that knew them have died. With death seems to come this expungement of reputation. I have to go on to assume their presentation was genuine, and that their past is a proud one. Either way, in the end everyone eventually loses their pigment.

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