Just a Hairbrush

>> Thursday, August 30, 2007


Where’s the hairbrush?

We’re in the final stages of leaving for the day, and all I need is a hairbrush. Just a hairbrush.

“Honey, where's the hairbrush?” I call from the bedroom. Michael's in the office.

“I don’t know, let me look,” he calls back.

“Husband, can I play on the computer?” That’s not me -- it’s Elizabeth. She married Michael earlier in the day and is carrying a wedding bouquet of plastic red tulips to prove it. In her world, a wife is always on the heals of her husband. (Note to self: must have a talk with Elizabeth...)

“Not now,” he says. “We’re leaving soon to go to the grocery store.” He shuffles through papers and peaks behind the computer in case the hairbrush is playing hide-and-seek beneath a stack of bills. He nearly trips over Elizabeth.

“Elizabeth, can you help me find the brush so we can leave?” he asks.

“I’m not Elizabeth -- I’m wife.”

Wife, can you help me find it?” She agrees, but helping him looks a lot like following him around from room to room. As he searches, she continuously asks him questions and tells him her ideas... like a wife, I’m guessing.

I pass the husband/wife train in the hallway.

“Elizabeth, can you...” I begin to ask in an effort to relieve Michael.

“I’m wife. You’re daughter,” she corrects me.

“OK, Mommy, can you put your shoes on so we can leave?”

She runs after Michael. “Husband, where are my shoes?”

Meanwhile, Samantha has found a brush. Like the angel she is, she brings it to me. “Here Mommy. Here’s a brush.”

“Oh thanks, sweetie. But that’s the ‘knotinator’. I need the black one.” The “knotinator” is guaranteed to put a knot in your hair with one stroke. It must have a fairy godmother that keeps it from being tossed into the trash can, because miraculously it’s still here.

In the other room I hear Elizabeth... Husband, I have an idea. Let’s make a car, OK? Would you like to do that, husband? A red one. Can I have some tape? Husband, where are you going? Did you find the brush, husband? Husband?

I continue to search for the black brush, looking through the same drawers I’ve searched five times already. It just has to be here. This is where it belongs. My brain can’t quite grasp that it is not there. Perhaps this is like phantom limb syndrome, only I have phantom brush syndrome.

Perhaps if I count to three, spin around, and snap my fingers, the brush will appear in the drawer when I open it again. Count, spin, snap -- it’s not. I can’t believe it. I close the drawer, check my closet, return to the drawer and open it again...

I hear the married couple in the kitchen. Cabinet doors open and shut. Lizzy prattles on and on. I hear Michael. Wife, sometimes even married couples need time apart... The comment flies overhead, unnoticed. Husband, where’s the glue...?

Hell, maybe my hair’s good enough. Maybe now’s a good time to start dreadlocks. But something tells me there’s more to dreadlocks than simply not brushing. Doesn’t it involve a lot of work? Doesn’t it take years to accomplish? Aren’t dreadlocks symbolic of... something?

(Quick Wikipedia check: “Locks can be an expression of deep religious or spiritual convictions, a manifestation of ethnic pride, a political statement, or be simply a fashion preference.)

Oh forget it -- too much effort. Besides, I’m not fashionable enough nor spiritual enough to pull it off. Better to find a good, old-fashioned, nonpolitical hairbrush.

But wait? What’s that? I hear husband tell wife to give something to “Melissa”. I hold my breath and cross my fingers. Wife runs into the bedroom with tulips in one hand and -- is it what I think it is? -- Yes! The black hairbrush. “Here daughter! Husband found the brush!”

Oh, yay, husband! Yay, wife! Yay Samantha for playing quietly with baby doll!

I drag the brush through my hair. It feels good. My black brush gently pulls and separates my hair and massages my scalp. It’s obscenely satisfying. I begin to feel clean and organized -- straightened out, if you will. Now I can relax.

I’ve been in love with a good hairbrush ever since I was a kid. I bribed girls in kindergarten to brush my hair while we watched filmstrips about good dental hygiene. When I was a teenager, any argument between my mother and I could always be dissolved (if not resolved) with a nice hair-brushing while watching Family Ties or Murphy Brown. And my husband knows that a near surefire path to sex is with a little hair-brushing foreplay beforehand.

But perhaps I’ve said too much...

So, happily brushed, I gather our belongings, help wife with her shoes, grab a sweater for Samantha, and make final adjustments to my shopping list. Red-leaf lettuce, Feta cheese, chocolate chip cookies, milk...

And, oh yes, more hairbrushes.




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