All Things, Cast Aside
It was like slipping into new skin. That’s what Sheila liked about weaving fake hair into her own. Every three months, she went to the beauty supply store and spent a good hour studying the selection—human hair, Yaki, other synthetic blends. And then there were the colors and textures, so many to choose from. She wasn’t really choosing hair though. Sheila was choosing who she wanted to be. She could be anyone. She had always been that way, shedding one skin and stepping into another, effortlessly, almost gleefully. It all changed one day after a long day at the salon, surrounded by the worries of women, having a new weave put in. As she drove home, $800 poorer for her troubles, Sheila’s scalp was screaming and an evil headache throbbed from behind her eyes to the back of her skull. She caught a glance of herself in the rearview mirror and couldn’t recognize herself, couldn’t see a single glimpse of the skin she had been born in. As she walked up the stairs, she began pulling her weave out, one section at a time. For months, a lonely bit of hair would rest on the landing, strands splayed limply. She would look at that hair but never stop to pick it up. She would barely give it any thought at all. Before then, though, she was changing her skin. She was thinking about how broken things sometimes need to be broken further. By the time she made it to her apartment, she was alone with herself.