I'm a bald man now. Ever read the Book of Job? I like how he copes. The change is not purely aesthetic. That bothers me. When people cut their hair, tan their bodies, or lose weight for the sole purpose of hearing blinking friends and distant cousins say you've changed.
I'm sorry to hear about Tim's dad. I'm sure he'll get better. I'd say, I'm glad you two are getting back to normal, but I don't feel optimistic enough to lie. Tonight, I'm tending to a toothache. Covering one end of a cocktail stirrer, dipping it in scotch, and using it as a medicinal dropper. After typing that sentence, I realized the absurdity of this situation. Trading surgical for savage pulls from the bottle.
Heather came over on Halloween. I ran a bath for her. She nursed a fading cigarette while sitting on the edge of the sink and with a wet paper towel wiped off her stage makeup. She told me she had twelve piercings. Then she said people usually ask her where they're at. Some information reveals itself.
I could hear hummed melodies through the wall as she bathed, as I made my bed. Lit three candles. Sprayed some Febreze to cover the stench of my existence. She came in wearing my robe. Without makeup, she looked boyish. Lost, angry.
Her breathing didn't comfort me. She drifted to sleep quickly. As bizarre as it sounds, I could feel Karen in the room. She was the moving shadows. She was the branches scraping against the house. She was the light I left on in the closet. To spite her, I woke Heather up.
I traced her piercings like a holy diary pressed in brail. I sank teeth into hipbone. Sharpened. The *** was short. To be expected, I suppose. Three years of celibacy. She told me it surprised her that it took me this long to sleep with her.
Why did you let me? I asked.
Heather smiled a waving tightrope. Confident. Off-balance. She said I was warm. I was predictable. Like a country music song. I gave her my back. Turned on the television.
I haven't talked to her since. The thing about being born again is, sometimes when you've think you've died, you've only had a bad dream. A more final death lurks. Let's hope she killed me. Now, bald like an idiot babe, I'll try to start. No vanity. You were right. The adventure kicks off when I learn to love myself. Looking at the uneven bumps on my shaved head, I've already developed a crush. I'll apologize in my next letter.