In Case You Go Bald
Jane-Rebecca Cannarella | Cait Maloney
When you’re old or gone, I’ll still be wondering about the color of your hair and how it’s one color and all colors at once. Or maybe it’s one color and no colors at the same time. And I’ll question whether or not a person can be a pirate ship and a cruise ship simultaneously.
I wanted to learn about colors so I could develop a language for your hair, and how it falls into your eyes in the same way that boys in books that I liked were described. I don’t think you “swoop” it back, but you do something with your colorless hair to get it out of your lashes that deserves to be described.
I did research but all I found was stuff about cones and rods, and your hair isn’t a shape. Or maybe it’s a shape that doesn’t have a name yet, like that time we were walking in the rain and your hair hung in loops and lanks with bits of ice stuck in between. And how later on we made pirate hats out of newspaper and your wet hair blurred the headlines.
We examined a strand that I yanked out, pulling it taut. You asked if you could use it to tell me a joke that you had learned in 6th grade. And when you delivered the punchline, “where’s the hair?” we laughed like idiots. After, having given up on colors and jokes, we lay on your furry carpet and pretended that the cracks in your popcorn ceiling were constellations. You fell asleep with your head on my shoulder.
And when you’re old or gone, I’ll carry the memory of how after you woke up I found elusively-colored follicles on the pillow of my shoulder and wrapped them around my fingers like rings.