The Grey Hair:

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

“I read somewhere that it’s the lack of melanin, a pigment in the hair.”

“I have another grey hair,” she said, the emotion thick in her sleepy voice.

“That’s good,” I replied nonchalantly, staring at the beautiful curtain of jet black before me. She turned and faced me, several strands criss-crossed her face like tiny prison bars. I softly drew my finger across her forehead, pulling the errant hairs back into place. The deep frown that had settled across her features spelled trouble. Pushing the hair behind her tiny ear, I got in first.

“What I mean is, the other one has company. It will no longer stand out.” I slid my other arm under her pillow and pulled her close. My lips brushed the downy border of her hairline and I pursed them pressing softly. I felt her shudder and her features relaxed.

“You’re not like anyone else,” she whispered, pushing her head into the crook of my arm. My mind wandered over her body, from her toes to the place where my mouth gently caressed. I contemplated the differing types and textures of hair that was present on my beautiful companion, and with that, the paradox with which her society viewed it.

What she meant was, I wasn’t one of them. I didn’t insist on her covering one of her most beautiful assets for the sake of allegedly avoiding the desires of other men. Equally, I celebrated the hair that covered her body, as a result of her heritage.

I didn’t insist that she regularly exfoliate for my pleasure. I would run my hand up from her ankle to the top of her thigh and joy at the contrast between its smoothness and its prickliness, depending on the cycle of removal. Our bathroom cupboard was an arsenal of items designed to eradicate unwanted hair. Why? I stroked her head and jumped in at the deep end.

“How do they become grey, like the whole thing, do you expect?” I whispered.

“I don’t know,” she responded sleepily. Buoyed by her relaxed reply, I continued.

“Has anyone ever thought? Do they start grey Or do they unexpectedly just change overnight? Otherwise, how do you suddenly find one?” My thoughts fell upon another part of her exquisite anatomy.

Sometimes she would raise her arms while dressing and reveal the new growth in her armpits. I would secretly cherish that glimpse, knowing she’d be horrified at the thought.

I pictured her removing the tiny black dots from the backs of her hands and fingers with the strange little machine with two rollers. An intimate process that she was never embarrassed to do in front of me, yet said was taboo for men to see in her culture.

It was then that I’d shiver and the differences between us, the chasm which would eventually separate us and break me. For now, however, I revelled in our exclusive intimacy, the earth shattering secret that was our unique love.

“Interesting,” she said eventually. “I read somewhere that it’s the lack of melanin, a pigment in the hair, that makes it transparent. It’s not really grey or white.”

“Isn’t that beautiful?” I said and she turned her head up to face me. My lips brushed her cheek.

“You are officially crazy,” she giggled and the two white strands were assigned to history, for the time being.

I used the silence to delve deeper into her psyche. She suffered from trichotillomania, the hair pulling syndrome, the legacy  of a traumatic childhood. I would often watch out of the corner of my eye as she worried away at a single strand, wrapping it around her finger many times. Eventually, she’d pull it out and analyse it like some biological anomaly in the lab.

The fact that she’d feel comfortable doing this in my presence, was satisfying to me. Apparently she’d be beaten and humiliated for it at home. Getting to know her hair was like getting to know her. A slow delicate process of negotiating a cultural minefield, to find a beautiful, lush landscape at the other side. I knew deep down it couldn’t last. There was too much for her to lose. I revelled in the finite time I had with her like a condemned man with his last meal. One day, late in December, that cell door opened and I faced the inevitable.

As I sit here now contemplating the abandoned intimacy with which we celebrated our relationship, my heart screams again.

1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Childs

    Beautifully touching and written from from the heart.


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