Sorry About My Hair

The Word: Brush
(For V.S.)

I can’t find my hairbrush. This has been going on for a month.

If I’m looking for my ring, my address book, my hot water bottle, though, there it is, where it doesn’t belong.

If I was getting dressed, tying my shoes, I would note its presence on the little chair in my closet. The chair Jocelyn gave me because she was moving. A French chair with leopard spots. Perhaps it needed grooming. Jocelyn fancies cats.

But when I need grooming, my brush absents itself.

It’s a metaphor.
For love of course.

The way it’s there when I don’t need it. Presenting itself at a party, when I’m already with someone with whom things were working out. Just as I’m tying my shoes and trying to get out of the house, emotionally speaking.

But when I’m bruised and skinless and weeping with desire, my emotional hair in a rat’s nest, then of course, it vanishes. Leaves the room before I enter. Hides under the bed. Someone puts it in his pocket as he rifles the vanity table.

Yes, I know. It looks bad, to go about like this. Yes. I know it’s an important meeting. Your birthday. A very nice restaurant. I’m sorry that my hair looks like this.

Part of a weekly series of short short stories based on a writing exercise, The Word. “Inspired by a simple word, chosen at random, write a two-page double-spaced story, using the Word at least once.”

Next week’s word is: CLAMP

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4 Responses to “Sorry About My Hair”

  1. I love your use of white space (or in the case of your blog, the black space)–the two short lines:

    It’s a metaphor.
    For love of course.

    Also, the phrase “bruised and skinless and weeping with desire” is a great image.

  2. Looking forward to CLAMP!

    Here’s BRUSH…

    Finding the Line

    I’ll admit that I’ve been wrong before. With men. More than once, I’ve responded to a smile meant for the woman behind me. Mistook extra time and attention for flirting when I was just another sale to the guy in the Petites section. Still, what happened minutes ago was different. Different because there was no need for second-guessing – his hand on my ass was all the proof needed. Different because it happened two feet away from his wife. Different because his wife Scarlet is my friend. One of my dearest, though not as close as we once were. She’s grown now. Comfortable at this party. Fine with just one cocktail.

    I came for the food, the drinks a close second. Had hoped for a phone number but my skin is thick enough to take leaving without one, hardened from twenty plus years of disappointments. Stupid men. Men who bullshit all the time. Overweight men lucky to make it to age 45. Needy men. Gay men with reality issues. Men with too many children. Married men.

    From the spot where I’ve settled with a miniature plate filled with more than my share of bacon-wrapped shrimp, I watch my friend. Her pretty laugh makes those around her smile. She’s skilled with the ability to ping-pong effortlessly from one group, one single, one pair to the next, and with no concern about where the appetizers are being passed. She’d done it – career, family. I’d tried. I went to school, got the business degree. Worked long hours. Showed the cleavage. Hid the cleavage. Looked for love online. Didn’t miss a mani/pedi appointment for three years. Slept with the boss. Stayed committed to my personal trainer. Took every blind date around. Still, at 40, it was just me and my lackluster career. My free shrimp and white wine.

    I need a fresh glass. My jacket saves my seat, leaving me close to naked in the thin, navy halter dress I swore I wouldn’t wear until things got really desperate. The bar is packed tight with suits. Men lining up, getting another drink for the wife, that magical one that would render her horny, even lecherous in another hour. Functionally tipsy, I squeeze myself through arms and chests to get a hand on the ledge, brushing against someone familiar.

    “What are we drinking tonight?” Pinot Grigio, I tell him and let him buy. We talk, glancing to my left, his right every few minutes to see what Scarlet is doing, does she notice us. My stomach tightens.

    Married men, there’d been plenty of those. But men married to Scarlet? Perhaps I’ve finally found the line that shouldn’t be crossed. Once he excuses himself to the bathroom, adamant that he’ll be right back and that I shouldn’t move, that I should wait right where I am, I find my jacket back on the chair. I leave my empty glass on the table.

  3. Amelia Ponomarova Says:

    This piece is gorgeous. This phrase made me catch my breath:
    bruised and skinless and weeping with desire

    Thank you for being in the world and writing xo

  4. Loraine Shields Says:

    Thank you. Your writing is pure scalpel honest along the nerves of the brain.
    I also, loved your writing and dialogue tips. So very generous of you to open your cask of jewels for us. Though I have been away. I am trying to catch up w all you do. It’s such an extravagant and sumptuous reward for my
    senses.

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