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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pony dreams


I long for a pony tail.

A couple of months ago, I dreamed that my hair grew to shoulder length overnight. When I woke up, I had to touch it to see if it was true. (It wasn't.)

And it won't be long again any time soon. So instead I go through the motions of putting my hair up -- smoothing it back, gathering the bottom, tying it at the crown of my head, all the while the short bits fall back down, or bristle away.

When I see girls with pretty pony tails, I must resist the urge to pull them. Hard.

Before I started chemo, my sister and mom went with me to a wig shop. I was pretty sure I didn't want one, but figured I should check it out. The saleswoman took me back to the try-on room, and brought me the closest approximations to my real hair. I tried on several, all of which left me looking like some variation of a Simpsons character. I was feeling pretty strange about the whole thing, and the saleswoman was unsuccessfully trying to cheer me up. (There was another woman sobbing out in the showroom. It wasn't a great day for anybody.)

She went on to explain the rules of wigs. Acrylic ones, like I could afford, required less care in general. "But," she warned, "always remember to take it off if you're doing cooking or baking."

"Why?" my mom asked.

"Well, the heat could melt the fibers. Or it could ignite."

Um. Well. Okay.

She tried another wig on me. It seemed to hover above my head, conspicuously voluminous in a way that my own hair was not.

Then my sister Olivia took down her knotted pony tail/bun. Her hair, which is almost black, and ludicrously thick and long and shining, tumbled down. It felt like it took several seconds for it to completely unwind. I could have sworn there were sound effects. The saleswoman gasped.

I looked back at the nest on my head. Some women look great in their wigs. Sometimes they look absolutely like real hair. I, however, looked like a strange child who had raided a high school drama costume closet.

So I said no to the wig, and we left before Olivia could be enticed into selling her locks to buy a train ticket. Oh wait, that's another story.

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