Hair Talks

by Charlene McNary

Black pekoe, mint, honey and a hint of floral essence wafted through the air hitting her nose just so. She inhaled the familiar scent and felt her shoulders gently drop. She had been unaware of the tension she carried in her body. She noticed the permanent crease in her forehead relax exactly midway between her eyebrows. Alyse was always amazed at how different her face looked when she un-furrowed her brow and released the crease in the bridge of her nose. Some women pay thousands to accomplish what her face does naturally once her body is relaxed. Therein lies the problem. Lately her face reflected a constant state of tension she could no longer hide.

Inhaling deeply with her eyes closed and feeling her diaphragm rise; she counted to five being careful to place her hand just so before releasing her breath ensuring she pushed as much air as possible from her diaphragm. She repeated the process five times before opening her eyes slowly. Reaching for the cup and taking a sip she could feel the warmth from her favorite tea as it moved throughout her body. She looked at herself in the mirror. Her gaze eventually settling upon the strands peeking out of her center part

“I know you’re worried and trying to calm yourself down. I see the stress in your eyes and the way you furrow your brow. I’d like to reassure you. But the truth is simply I’m worried too”

“Bobbi, I don’t know if I’d call it worry, at least that’s the last thing I want to call it. They told me not to worry, you know. How do you not worry about something like this?”

“I’m sorry. I wish I could make better. I just don’t know how”

“It’s not your fault, no need to be sorry. Truth is, I should have acted sooner. I keep wondering if in my delay I have lost too much time and as such will I now lose the fight”

“Sooner, later. Who knows? How could you have known? I didn’t even know. I really thought it was simple shedding, just a few strands that needed to leave. We were so comfortable hanging out and relaxing in our new twists that I really didn’t notice the first exodus.”

“Neither did I. I mean I noticed but I thought it was easily explained, the weather changing or perhaps menopause. Menopause, I swear it’s going to the be death of me. Who knew it came with so much loss?”

“Loss?!?! How so?”

“You lose so much and it’s so gradual that you don’t notice it until it feels way too late. For me, it feels like menopause normalized loss. I became so accustomed to losing that the sting no longer registered in my world. Until.”

“Until. Until when Alyse?”

“Until you. Until I started losing you, I simply chalked it up to menopause and went along with it. I didn’t like it. I hated it, but I heard that’s what should happen, you know, losing things. I always said if I didn’t have kids by 35 that I wouldn’t have any. When the blood stopped, it hurt, I felt the pain of never, but I wasn’t surprised. When my ability to cool my body took up and headed south, I wasn’t surprised. I wished it hadn’t happened, but I rolled with it. When the number crept up on the scale, I signed up for my first marathon to remind myself that I didn’t have to give in to menopause. And as more people got on my nerves, I told myself that some relationships needed to end anyway. So yeah, loss became normal but then you threw me a curve ball.”

“I’m sorry. I wish I had been able to stop the exodus.”

“Yeah, me too. Nevertheless, here we are. Waking up to losing you has been the hardest thing for me. I know they say it isn’t menopause, but I can’t stop thinking the menopause triggered the alopecia. It’s the only thing that has changed in my life, that and the crazy lady at the office but ding dong she’s gone.”

“Ha! Ding dong she’s gone.”

“Ding dong the witch is gone! You know Bobbi, I’m tired. I’m tired of loss. You’re the last thing I ever wanted to lose. I just can’t help wishing you’d stop leaving me.”