You are nineteen. It is a year after you broke up with your first girlfriend and
now your first girlfriend is standing above you as you kneel on the ground.
And while she is your ex now, she is still your friend because you need her.
Specifically, you need her to shave your head.
She shaves your head for you, and you finally feel butch—like a real lesbian.
As if there is a lesbian norm. And if there is one, then you are it with your
You have finally decided to shave your head because the older woman you had a
crush on, Emma, simultaneously broke your heart and pissed you off. This is
how you rebel. This shaved head that you know Emma would hate. This shaved
head that you actually love.
But you cannot get the thought of Emma out of your mind. She stays inside your
brain so much that you can’t do anything else but wallow in the words she last said
to you—that she never wants to talk to you again. You will remember she said this
because you did something that made her mad, that made her think you were some
silly little girl she didn’t want to waste her time on, though you will forget what it was,
exactly, that you did to her.
So when she refuses to speak to you, it drives you crazy. She is pushing you out of your
life. You are become the weird one on the periphery, the one that does not fit into
Emma’s we. You are nineteen and Emma’s refusal to speak to you drives you so crazy
that you end up in a psych ward with a shaved head and a freshly pumped stomach.
You are nineteen and you attempt suicide.
You do not write a note.
In this psych ward you meet Carrie. Carrie is quirkier than you. Carrie is married to one
man, has a boyfriend, a girlfriend, too, and she starts to rub her hands all over your
shaved head in the psych ward. And when you are both released from the psych ward
later on that week, Carrie continues to rub your shaved head with her hands, only this
time your shaved head is between her legs.
You are nineteen and take a semester off of college to be psych-ward-crazy and then to
learn how to get really drunk. Psysh-ward-Carrie and her boyfriend get you really drunk.
Every night. You will remember the hot tub the lot of you always went into without any
clothes on, and you will remember the pond with the canoe. You will not remember how
you ever got to that house, because every time you drove out there you were stoned or
drunk or both. You will not remember being at home during that off-from-college time.
You suspect you never went home. And for the three moths you spend with Carrie and
her boyfriend before you integrate your crazy mind back with the less-crazy college
brain, you drink Jack Daniels and sleep with Carrie in every room and shower in her
boyfriend’s house which is somewhere in the woods.
You are nineteen. You do not hang out with your friends from college because they are
scared of you, because they are afraid of getting to know you too well and then should
you die they would have to deal with that grief. You are nineteen and all on your own
accept for these people in this house in the woods, and you fall asleep on a king-sized
mattress with the thirty-four your old Carrie and her fifty-two year old boyfriend.
You sleep a drunk sleep, and in the morning you wake up to the bed banging against
the wall because he is banging her next to you in the bed. You are not a part of this we
in that moment.
You wait until they are done with the banging, then you get up and go to the kitchen,
open the bottle of Jack Daniels and drink what’s left of it standing in front of the sink
with your shaved head and your naked body. Then you go through another day of
drinking with Carrie to avoid the crazy that still crawls around you, and you fall asleep
not remembering what you did that day. You will not remember much of this time, but
the memories you will have all consist of a king-sized bed, two ceiling fans whirring
above your head, the three of you banging on the huge mattress, and that you went
to sleep every night wondering who, exactly, you were.