“Mom, are you ever going to grow your hair out again?” she asks for the trillionth time, while I am sitting at the kitchen table trimming her nails for the billionth time. This after one of those long, full exhausting Sundays of overdue chores that quite nearly empties me out. (Quite nearly.)
“No,” I snip in reply. (I am a Buddhist priest and what length of hair I still have tells you everything about the ego I’ve yet to let go.)
She looks away and says nothing, and I feel the temperature climb up my spine to a rolling boil.
“Why would I?” I erupt. “I’m just a slave around here!” (Did I say that? Or was it my mother, or her mother, or the ancient mother of all mothers?)
It’s quiet as I finish up her hands and feet, then she skips up the hallway to her room.
“Here, I want you to have this,” she says when she returns, holding out a folded bill. It’s $10 from her savings.
I shake my head in remorse.
“It’s for helping us,” and here she pauses to find the words, “to live.”
(Leaving me to repay the favor.)