I noticed her because she was wearing a knitted cap. Not because she was so pretty. Not because of the smile she had plastered in place, the smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She was the mother in a perfect family portrait, but that was not what drew my attention. What I could not tear my eyes from was the knitted cap on her head.
We were so exhausted from the fun of Disneyland; the airline flight, eating out, laughing, walking, tons of walking…the magic of Disney. This was our first Mother/Daughter trip in 8 years – our first trip since…the knit cap.
It felt good to be back in Tennessee. My daughter, Samantha, laughed as I wandered around the parking garage at the airport pushing the key fob, hoping my car would tell me where it was. Found the car. It was still there. It was the same. We loaded the car with our luggage. Samantha had put together a playlist for our trip, songs we loved to sing. As I backed the car out, she punched in NSYNC. We couldn’t stop laughing as she sang every word to Space Cowboy perfectly. Coming up for air, we realized we were famished. We stopped at Einstein’s Bagels. We walked up to the counter and ordered coffee and a bagel. Laughter. Music. Mother/Daughter time. Memories.
Then I noticed Her. I noticed the beautiful woman sitting beside us. She was thirty-something, had two gorgeous daughters with her (about five & seven) and her husband. I couldn’t give you many details about her looks. I didn’t notice the color of her eyes. She had porcelain skin and a slim build. But I don’t’ remember the shape of her face. I noticed her because of the knitted cap that covered her head – her baldhead. I wasn’t hungry anymore. I wanted to go hug her and tell her she would be ok, ‘cause I was ok. I wanted to tell her I understood how scared she was. I needed her to know that.
I felt empty watching her. The memories of what I had gone through came rushing back. I had a hole in my stomach, a void, a fear. Fear for myself and for her. I felt as though I had failed her and all others going through cancer. I failed them because I had not shared my story.
I glanced up at Samantha…she had a tear in her eye.