Even in the rain I knew it was her. Had there been leaves piled over, or a thousand miles between it and me I would still know it was her. That shape was just too perfect to be mistaken. Too perfectly her. No hair on earth had the same shape as hers.
I knew it in the way in which it kept its perfect bob, its perfect shade of perfect black. It had been a day, a year, maybe even a lifetime but neither time nor rain could change a shape like that. It was the moment time stood still. It was the bell that summoned the grandchildren. It was the jar in which she kept herself. It was her. It was her hair.
And I knew it well enough. I knew it from the way she came ready brushed each morning, the way her headscarf defied the weather, the way she sat prim against hard leather when her bones had all but worn to a whisper. No other hair could do that.
Not even death could shake that hair. And it had its chance. It had its chance. As she lay caressed by the cold embrace of the preparation room it had its chance. In the rough and tumble of the undertaker’s dance it had its chance. But no, not even death could shake that hair.
And death had more opportunities with her than I did. The radiation saw to that. It shrunk us to down to friends and no more, and no hands but hers could ever reach that beautiful head again. No hands. No hair.
So yes, it was her hair I saw. Even at this distance, with my eyes, I knew that it was her hair I saw in a parking lot. No cat, lying beneath a car, no raven, waiting to go home, could be that perfect.