I washed my hair in the kitchen sink, just like we used to do in summer at my grandparent’s farm. On Sundays, in the tiny one bathroom house, when everyone, the fifteen or twenty of us, scrambled to get ready for church, my mom would wash our hair in the kitchen sink. The ironing board was set up near the front door and the aunts and the great aunts took turns pressing out wrinkles that would wrinkle up again as soon as we climbed into the cars.
After church, Grandpa sat in his chair in his Sunday clothes and read the fat newspaper. I think the only other times he sat there was when he was in his pajamas, after he’d spent an hour in the bathtub washing away the dirt from the garden, the grease from the garage.
Grandma cooked the eggs over a flame too high so they were brown and crisp on the edges. Someone else made toast, piling it on a plate in the oven. The bacon spit while the table was set. Potatoes and onions from last night’s supper were fried up, while we kids, with our clean hair, were sent to change clothes.
Mom was happy when she was home at the farm. And I think she’s happy now. I imagine her dressed in bright orange and bright pink, swinging on a wooden swing, smiling, the way I kept seeing her from the corner of my eye, from that bar chair in Playa del Carmen, on the night she died.
I washed my hair in the kitchen sink today because I didn’t want to wait for a turn in the tub. All I wanted to do was see my sister. I wanted to get to her house, see if she was home, and hold the root of her.