Hair Dryer Faith
If Sarah Jane Smith had any more tears she would have surely cried them when she reached behind the old piano she never plays anymore and found a Christmas present.
Instead she held the mysterious little box wrapped in candy caned paper close to her chest and closed her eyes. It was present to her from her husband, she could tell. After thirty years he still couldn’t tie bow. But he had tried, and with eyes closed that was what she imagined, her Sonny Boy wrangling with the red ribbon like he had his horses until it had become the knotted mess that made her heart beat even faster.
She held the present close to her face and breathed in deep hoping for just a trace of his smell, and when it came so did the tears, tears from a place so deep inside her they made her ache. She tried to dry them, but couldn’t, same as this morning when she woke up alone, eyes pinched tight, hoping all this was bad dream.
She wondered if he had found her present to him. If he had he had never mentioned it. Maybe she could ask him when she made it to heaven, she thought trying to smile away a new batch of tears.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She was supposed to go first. She was the one who got sick, who had to take the treatments, who lost her hair and her appetite. He was the strong one, her rock, her cowboy with dimples that still made her melt after all the years passed by and even now when she remembered his last goodbye and how he danced her around the kitchen the morning he left.
He promised he would be gone just long enough to deliver Sunrise, and back before before midnight. Even though she was getting better he still hated to leave her by herself, even more than he hated selling Sunrise. But they needed the money and he was getting too old to cowboy. That was what he told her. She knew better though, and she told him so as she walked along side his old truck as it lumbered down the driveway hoping all the way that he would change his mind. Next to her he loved Sunrise more than anything.
“You’ll never get too old to cowboy,” she remembered whispering as the tail lights of the trailer faded into the gray morning twilight.
Those were sad words to remember, and she tried not as she set out to put her mind on happier times. There were so many, a lifetime of them.
Even when was her sickest and didn’t feel like living, Sonny had been right there, holding her hand, keeping the faith for her when she couldn’t keep it for herself.
Her Sonny was gone, now. How exactly, no one would ever know. That was what the man from the highway patrol told her. A million things good have happened with it being night, and him being tired and in a hurry to get back home, back home to brush her hair.
That was what he told her. He was going to hurry right back so he could brush her even though have any hair at the time, not like now, not even a sprig. She thought about that sometimes, how tickled he would be to see her hair was coming back. Sometimes though she got so angry at God for taking Sonny before her she had a mind to snatch it all out again and to live out her life bald as the day she was born.
Those were the times she missed Sonny the most, when she need to hear him tell her everything was going to be alright.
Christmas was still a good ways off, Sarah Jane reminded herself, wondering if she should return the present to its place behind the piano until she put up her Christmas tree.
Neither were supposed to buy presents for the other this year they decided when their money got tight. It was promise she hadn’t kept either, a belt buckle with “World Greatest Husband” on it was still in its box deep in her sewing drawer, where Sonny would have never looked
Christmas was too far off Sarah told herself as she worked up the courage to unwrap the candy cane paper. She didn’t know what she would find only that it would break her heart a thousand times over, this gift that Sonny had put together his nickels and dimes to buy for her.
With eyes closed again she peeled back the paper, and all the while felt as if she was falling off the edge of the world to some great unknown.
When she finally opened her eyes she could feel Sonny watching, from somewhere, she could hear the laughter in his dimpled smile, she could feel the tears he must have cried and the prayers he prayed when he bought her the little present she bathed in tears of her own.
It was a little red hair dryer, just liked the one she told him she would never need again.
This is a work of fiction for those who keep the faith for us when we can’t keep it for ourselves.