Morning flares up. Alarm clock lost in the covers. We've been in the new place half a year, and I still wake uneasy at the different fall of the light. I half expect to open the door and see the ground covered with snow.
I wash the morning dishes, do my back exercises, take my shower. Everything flickers: nothing stays still.
Mornings like this, I come loose in time, as I imagine people with advanced Alzheimer's do. I could be a college student in Olympia, a pantry chef in Portland, a programmer in Beaverton. I check, and try to stabilize my story: I'm a massage therapist and a database guy, living in the East County. Right. Spies must need to do this: get their story straight before the day begins. I have a feeling it's not so common for other people.
I see no particular reason why it should be true, why I'm not somebody else today.
Kia pauses, the sparse long hair on top of my head between her fingers. “I don't cut this?”
There's an odd amused cast to her expression, as though she's offering complicity. It takes me a moment. My perception of my own hair is crude: I have only two categories for it, “right” and “too long”: I'm clearly missing something here. Then it dawns on me: she's offering a comb-over! You always wonder how hapless men take to those silly things, how they tell their barbers to do it. Well, this is how it starts. “Whatever will look right,” I say cautiously. I slip a hand from under the cloak to show: “I part it here.” – Not saying, but meaning, and not way off to the side! “Up here?” she says evincing faint surprise. I leave, not exactly disgruntled, but not quite gruntled either. Balding is fine, no problem with that: but to be taken for someone who would be anxious to conceal it is wounding.
Out on the sidewalk, unlocking my bike, I start laughing. It's all vanity: it's just that some of it is more obvious. I'm still laughing as I kick off and head up 81st, and the wind flows over my bare neck.