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“Daddy, why is your hair white?”
“Well, one day I had to go out and do something. I don’t remember exactly what, but it must’ve been important because most people had stayed home, as we had just been hit by a blizzard a day or two earlier. So yeah, the streets were covered in ice, the snow piled as high as you are tall, most of it like big ol’ white walls with the bottom all dirty and yucky.
“I must’ve been waiting at the bus stop for at least three hours, might as well have been the middle of the North Pole, no one coming or going, my legs like two frozen steel poles, my clothes like sheets of ice, my face like that statue we pass when we walk over by City Hall.
“It was exactly like being in a walk-in freezer, with nothing to do but stand there feeling every agonizing minute, second, wishing so hard that that big ol’ square bus would show itself.”
“From how it would look coming down the street, yes, the front of it square-shaped with those big ol’ front windows, my mind wanting to see it so badly that when my eyes finally did spot it ever so slowly rolling my way at first I thought I was seeing things. But the closer it got the more I believed, until it pulled up right beside me and opened its doors, the warm air from inside stepping out to greet me like the feeling you get when you wrap your cold hands around a cup of hot chocolate.
“Now my biggest trouble was getting my hands and fingers to work, to dig for my change and get it into the farebox. Thankfully I didn’t drop it all over the place, and once I was able to sit down and begin to thaw the instant relief was like laying down after walking for a thousand miles.
“Once I started to feel my face again I looked to the window I was sitting next to, and it was then when I noticed my hair, that it had become completely white, just like the snow!”
“You mean your head was covered in snow?”
“No, my hair, my actual hair had become all white, like Jack Frost.”
With his daughter showing an expression of knowing better than to believe this last part of daddy’s story he smiled at her cleverness and went ahead with the message.
“Okay, maybe it wasn’t all white, but at least one strand had been changed forever from that experience. Eventually, this is what life gives you when you live it long enough. A wrinkle here, a scar there, a white hair when you have to persevere.
“So why is my hair white? Because I wanted to raise you in truth, and the truth is this is what it looks like when you’ve been through a lot. Sure I could have colored it, but why hide the fact that I’m a survivor? That I’m a stronger person for having beaten any given obstacle which came my way.
“I’m wearing life.”
And thus came the look across his daughter’s face he had been in love with since the first time he saw it. Of she getting it, that wide-eyed look which follows the ponder. That priceless gift of realization as she whispers to herself,