“Would you love me if I were bald?” I asked him, running my hand over his smooth, shaven head.
“What and all you say, ya,” he said, in his customary playful tone. I watched him, waiting, wondering if he would answer my question. When he didn’t, I asked him again.
He squinted at me, smiling. Shaking his head, he looked away. I could tell he was thinking. My tone grew more serious, as I looked down at him lying in my lap.
“Would you?” I asked, yet again.
“Don’t shave your head, ya,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish this curse upon anyone.”
Curse? I thought to myself. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“Answer me,” I persisted, leaning over him.
He looked at me and finally answered:
“I would LOVE you with a little ‘L’.”
I sat back, suddenly lost in thought. That had not been the answer I was expecting, honest as it was. He wasn’t ready to hear my secret yet. He loved me. Of that I had no doubt. I just didn’t know if he loved me enough.
How was I to tell him? Surely one of these days he would notice. Notice that my scalp was beginning to show from under my thinning hair? Surely he must have noticed the bags under my eyes? He must have seen through the mask I wore everyday. But maybe I wore it too well.
I didn’t know how long I had. Maybe years. Maybe months. I couldn’t keep him in the dark much longer. He had to know, and whether he chose to stay in my life after that was wholly his decision.
“I’ve been wanting to tell you this for a while now. I -”
“You think I’m full of crap? Relax. I was just kidding, ya,” he said, before I could complete my sentence. “My love for you is unconditional.”
I decided to tell him another day.