#150 Vanessa’s Hair

by Christy Luis

Vanessa’s hair has morphed again. I never cared in the past, but now I “hold that thought” with every fiber of my being. I still feel the needle slide into my arm.

In 6th grade, cutesy Vanessa’s hair was hot pink and pixie-cut. In 9th grade, it was a midnight black, high pony tail (to match her cheer-uniform).

Now, Frisco Babe, actress-hopeful Vanessa wears her hair in long, blonde, crimped waves as she visits home from college. Back to hick-town to cart her kid sister around.

On our way to the hospital, I had to remind her of that as she screamed high-pitched profanities at the Sunday drivers.

“Vanessa, you’re not in Frisco anymore.”

She tossed her beautiful hair. “Don’t call it that. You sound like a hick.”

“I am a hick.”

I think of this, rather than the poison seeping into my veins from people who are supposed to heal me. Rather than the itch that is my newly bared scalp under my knit hat. The last of my virgin hair fell out in the shower this morning.

I must have squeezed Vanessa’s hand too tightly, because she whispers, “It won’t last forever.”

I let that comfort me, because after 11th grade prom-queen hair and college waves, Vanessa lost her hair to chemo, too.

She suddenly slides away her hair, revealing a messy patch of dark spikes underneath.

I will never wear a wig.

“Hair grows back,” she says, “and I’ll be here with you. Frisco can wait.”


JRVogt said...

A touching end to this one.

Another Government Employee said...

Kind of an O'Henry twist.

Christy Luis - Dostoevsky in Space said...

Thank you for reading! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. I really love the way you wrote this - solid writing, characterization, dialogue. Nice!

Christy Luis - Dostoevsky in Space said...

Thank you very much, Aerin! I have to say, I love your name :)