T’s mother was not a natural blonde, but she did have one of the mansion’s bedrooms dedicated entirely to her wigs.
Honey blonde, strawberry, dirty, golden or ash, T’s mother wore them all, though she never went platinum, because T’s father thought that shade vulgar for a wife (though fine for a mistress).
T’s mother despised Styrofoam head wig-stands, so she bought custom Cosmetology Mannequin Heads and commissioned a make-up artist to paint the faces. Mounted on marble pedestals, the heads dazzled with their cat-eyed liner, thick false eyelashes and pouty pink or coral lips. Only when the make-up was perfect, did T’s mother allow her hairdresser to place a styled blonde postiche on the head, and the room became a feast of beauty.
T adored his mother’s wig-room from the very beginning, when a frustrated nanny took him there to stop a tantrum. It worked immediately.
“Mommy?” he whispered, turning in a circle. A Baccarat chandelier scattered light across the room, ricocheting off the gold-veined mirrors. It seemed there were a thousand mommies. No matter they were bodiless, they all had beautiful hair.
The summer he was ten, whenever his mother left the house, T made a bee-line to the wig chamber. Opening the door, he thrilled to the gorgeous fake women inside. Then he kissed every one of the twenty-five stunners, right on their perfectly painted lips.
“I’m T,” he’d breathe on them, leaning in quickly to steal his prize. Then he’d smooth their hair, marveling at the lustrous variety of colors and styles. One seemed a cascade of shiny 18k gold, spun into waves. Next, a soft cap of curls, wheat-colored and gleaming. T’s favorite wig was an elaborate updo with a yellow glossy pompadour swept low over the forehead. Someday, he thought. Someday.