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September 11, 2008
My mother never perched on a velvet-cushioned vanity bench and created a colorful, different face to present to a cocktail party crammed with people. She never piled her hair up like a wedding cake or draped herself in pearls or baubles or shiny anything. She didn't turn away from a makeup mirror to smile at me, a breathless admirer whose age was still in the single digits, and dab fierce red lipstick on my smiling mouth.

My mother never stood in front of my father, looked over her shoulder, lifted her hair, and asked, "Would you zip me up, darling?"