The hair

I’m going to skip over the fact that I neglected this blog for an eternity and just post a creepy story I wrote recently. It’s supposed to be about the intersections between hair and female power. I think about these concepts a lot, and was horrified/inspired by some reading I did recently about the symbolism of hair (specifically blond hair) as power during Victorian times.

 

the hair

He loved his wife best while she was sleeping. That beautiful hair glowing in the moonlight captivated him more powerfully than he was comfortable with. For hours after she went to sleep, he would look at the glossy locks swirling out from her head, covering the pillow and dripping out onto the sheets like a too-thickly-applied coat of paint. At times he would stroke it gently with his fingertips, feel its silky sturdiness, taking care not to let the hairs pull on her head and wake her. Other times he would gather a small section to rub between his thumb and forefinger, back and forth, back and forth, feeling the hairs roll over one another.

He grew certain the hair was speaking to him. He could see how it flirted with him, a faceless temptress. He felt as convinced about the hair’s messages as he would’ve had he been reading text, had the strands twisted themselves into a thick cursive, spewing out letters like an elegant alphabet soup. What he gleaned from the hair made sense to him in a way few other things did.

In the daytime, he and his wife floated orb-like. They moved about their home ruled by different planets, out of sync, self-contained. When she would say something to him from across the long dinner table, he would reflexively look up towards the ceiling. It was there he followed her words with his eyes, saw them vaporizing into the air before they could reach him, losing form, atomizing and drifting upward.

Night again: his relief. Him and the hair. He became comfortable speaking quietly to it, learning that this did not wake his wife. Quietly, he recounted the day, the thoughts that crossed his mind. He would often tell the hair how beautiful it was. He began to notice himself referring to his wife in the third person. She did this, she did that. It felt natural.

A small wave of discomfort entered his mind as he dwelled further on this thought: cleaved apart in his mind, the hair and the woman who was his wife. Unsettling. Just then, a streak of moonlight passed by the window, the hair flashing the reflection. His head snapped to attention. Immediately, he sensed a fierce energy emanating from the hair. He looked away and slept uneasily.

The next day he sought out his wife. He felt a pull to be near her, to listen to what she said, to ask her how she was doing. He found her in the garden, pruning the roses. As she swirled toward him, the hair followed her momentum, swinging onto her shoulder. He was startled by how dead it looked on her head, like a pelt. He forced his gaze to her eyes. “How are you?” She looked confused and snipped off a rose that wasn’t dead yet.

He ran away. He felt ill. He skipped dinner and hid in his office, fretting and then falling asleep, head on his desk, a stack of post-it notes embossing a square onto his cheek. Time trickled by. He woke up during the eerie handoff between moon and sun and tried to figure out how he felt. He thought of the hair: glorious, powerful….frightening. He thought of his wife. Them together.

His stomach leapt with a sudden desire to hold the hair in his fists, to caress his face with it, to tie it together with a ribbon and stow it somewhere. He wanted to carry it with him in his coat pocket, always with him: safe, kept.

Drastic, he opened up his desk drawer and searched for the scissors. He didn’t know how he would explain this to the hair or his wife, but he didn’t care, it had to be done. He walked back toward the bedroom with scissors pointed blade down, safety posture.

He stood at the precipice of the doorway and raised the scissors up, opened them. He could not see his wife well from this vantage point, just a rumple of sheets and pillows over a form. She must have slept poorly. He walked around the bed to look at her and the hair, the fear rising in his belly. He saw her face: eyes open, unblinking. Body not moving. The hair in two thick luminous ropes, clenched tightly around her throat.

 

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