"What are we doing today?" she asked, draping the smooth black cloth around my shoulders. "Just cleaning it up?"

I'd been saving for weeks for a hair cut. A real one, not the kind with kitchen scissors and a dim light bulb. "I want to go short," I said, as we inspected my reflection in the mirror. "But I'm afraid."

"Afraid of what?"

He liked long hair, my last lover. He told me often. He told me, too, how lovely I was without it, that of course it was up to me if I grew it out or not, but maybe I could grow it out, just to try, just to see how I look. Just to see.

It ate at me, the hair. I knew he loved me, but with long hair, I thought he'd love me more. I worried about the long-haired girls he knew, flirty tails and low-slung buns, they had something I couldn't possess. He fucked one of them later on a camping trip.

With short hair, I was a rough-hewn stone: precious, perhaps, but not valuable.

So I locked my scissors in the furthest drawer. For the length of our duration, I never touched a hair. It grew in awkward, frizzy tufts, sprouting thick from my head like a bad witch's wig. I felt awful, ugly. "You can cut it," he said, disappointed, "But maybe just to see." I never liked long hair on me. I always look like some other girl.

Even when he left, it's so silly. Part of me thought that was why. My hair didn't grow fast enough. Nine months later, I still dream of pony tails, low-slung buns, curls tumbling over my shoulders. I hate it. Even in my dreams, I look like someone else.

"Afraid of what?" she asked, brushing my bangs from my eyes.

There's a certain transparency you take on when your heart is smashed, your skin gets thin like a gauzy curtain. You don't hide so much. "No one will ever love me again."

She looked me in the eye, not the mirror.

I nodded. "Ok."

An hour later, she spun me around. She smiled. "You look just like you."