Alec Michod

Something else he had been meaning to tell her? He loved her hair. Not at first, or rather, he had always thought she had attractive, full-bodied hair. But one day, the day Franklin was born, in fact, when he walked in and saw her holding their first child, he noticed, as if struck by some metaphorical lightning, that she had the most astonishing hair. From then on, he monitored her management of her hair, which he found, without fail, to be aggressive and resourceful. One day she wore it pinned in a stately updo, and it was lovely. The next day she had bound it back, cinched with a ribbon, and it was lovely then, too. He particularly liked it when she did very little to it, when she let it go about its natural, unruly self. He had been her TA in Fundamental Mathematics, and he had noticed her hair at the time, and here he was sixty-eight years, two children, three grandchildren later, alone, it occurred to him, from here on out, and he wished he had appreciated her hair more. What was it about her hair, exactly? He was sitting, opposite her, in the pleather recliner she insisted not be moved to their assisted-living place and he had no idea why, all this time, he had neglected to tell her he was fascinated by her hair. Once, at someone’s wedding or funeral, he couldn’t recall, he noticed that she had, all of a sudden, gone gray, and it was the most incredible thing. She, as was her pleasure, spent hundreds of dollars coloring it back to its youthful shade of chestnut, and now he wished he had told her how viscerally he had loved the gray of her old age. There were other things he had loved about her, and other things he wished he had told her with more frequency, of course: her laugh, how kind and even-tempered she had remained during the raising of their children, how little she had complained about her cancer. But now that she was gone, the one thing he wished he had told her more often was that she had, he’d always thought, the most beautiful hair.


Alec Michod is the author of The White City, a novel. He has an MFA from Columbia University and has published in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, and The Believer. He lives in Brooklyn and used to stutter.