My hair is falling out. A fine, sad network twines across the pillow in the morning. I am forever plucking strands from the corner of the baby’s mouth.
I pull at it, run my fingers through it, checking them compulsively afterward for the telltale evidence. It’s always there, sometimes eight strands at a time, weaving together, blowing away.
I stand in front of the bathroom mirror in the evening, tugging my hair to this side and then the other side, exposing the horror of my widening part. My hair can part anywhere now, given even half a chance. It falls open obscenely.
Losing my hair feels like losing my confidence. I hide under a hat. I try to surreptitiously check my reflection in case it’s ended up even more embarrassing than when I left the house earlier. I am thinking about it while having coffee with a friend. Is she looking at my hair? Is she feeling a little sorry for me?
Bear says I’m being ridiculous, I look exactly the same. My hair is beautiful.
Beautiful is a gross exaggeration, I say. Gross is a better word.
He gets frustrated. Come on, stop it, you’re being vain. It doesn’t matter.
Wait, I say. This is not vanity. I swear.
Actually, I’ve been trending towards fine. I mean, I just wrote this piece, about feeling sexy. And before that I wrote this piece, about not caring about the way I look anymore. So yes, that just happened. I realize I’m sort of contradicting myself now. I tried not to write this piece for that reason, but I’m writing it anyway, because life is contradictory. Also, my hair wasn’t falling out then.
My thinning hair yanks me back into a tightening awareness of my reflection, and I resent it for that, too.
It reminds me of losing my hair other times. This isn’t the first time.