Can’t fight genetics…

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“I never understood where you got all that hair from,” Mom said, watching me add bobby pin after bobby pin to my hair in an effort to keep my bun in place. “Certainly not from me.”

My mother’s hair had never been particularly thick, but a few years ago it began to fall out by the handful. A doctor told her it was alopecia. He wasn’t sure if her hair would grow back or not.

It was hard for her at first, but Mom had come to accept her nearly hairless lot in life—perhaps even to enjoy it. After the doctor’s diagnosis, she spent a small fortune on wigs of different lengths, textures, and colors. When she visited me, her wigs were specially packed, and as soon as she’d get to my apartment, she would hang all the ones she had brought from various hooks around the place. As a result, I had taken to calling her Moira Rose.

At the time of her diagnosis, one of the things my mother asked her doctor was whether her daughters might someday suffer the same fate. “Perhaps,” he had told her, “but only if the genes for this run on your husband’s side of the family, too.” At 60, Dad still had a full head of hair; my grandfather, his father, was still getting regular, necessary haircuts until the final few months of his life and my grandmother still took hours setting her hair once a week, during which time she was absolutely never to be disturbed. My mother breathed a sigh of relief. It was unlikely that either my sister or I would have to go through the indignity of sudden, rapid hair loss.

“Honestly, Mom, sometimes I envy you. It seems like you have so much fun with your wigs,” I told her, jamming one last pin into my hair and hoping it would be the one that kept my long, dark waves in place for the evening.

“Oh, I do. But my hair was never much to admire. You and your sister, though…there’s no way any wig could look that good.”

I shook my head a few times from side to side, making sure my hair did not budge, then stood and offered my mom my hand. “Ready to go?” I asked. She took my hand, stood, then gave a quick glance to the mirror, adjusting her wig—the one she called Lizzie, after Elizabeth Taylor. It was short and dark and ornately curled in that 1950s way that every short-haired woman wore their hair. But it did not look dated. Rather, my mother looked elegant.

It was a big night for us. She was meeting my boyfriend, Eric, for the first time. The plan was to meet him at the restaurant, only a few blocks away. It was a lovely spring evening and we were enjoying catching up during our walk. I heard my phone ring in my pocket but slipped my hand in to silence it without even checking the caller ID. Then, my mother’s purse began to ring. In our family, if one person’s phone vibrates or rings immediately after another’s, it’s usually a sign there’s an emergency. Mom fished her phone out of her bag. “It’s your sister,” she said. “That was probably her when your phone rang, too. I’d better get this.”

We stopped about half a block from the restaurant and my mom answered on speaker. “Laura? Everything okay?”

“Mommy?” I could her my sister sniffle into the phone. She only ever called Mom “Mommy” if she was really upset. “Are you with Bridget?”

“Yes, sweetie. she’s right next to me. You’re on speaker.”

“It sounds like you’re outside somewhere.”

“We are, we were about to walk into the restaurant so I could meet Eric. What’s going on?”

“Oh god,” my sister sobbed. “It’s too embarrassing for me to say on speaker if you’re out in public. Hold on. I’m going to send you a picture.” The line went quiet for a moment and my mom’s phone dinged with an incoming message from Laura. There was no text there, only a picture. It was of the back of my sister’s head—those golden curls were unmistakeable. In the photo, her hair was mostly swept to one side over her left shoulder, with some falling over her right. In the area where the two sections of hair diverged from each other, there was a very obvious bald spot, roughly the size of a golf ball. “Do you see it?” My sister was back on the line.

“Oh, honey…” my mom said. I could see a tear forming in the corner of one eye. “I’m so sorry.”

“What do I do, mom?”

“Go see a doctor as soon as you can. In the meanwhile, be extremely gentle when you’re washing your hair and try to keep brushing and styling to a minimum.”

Up the street, I could see Eric heading toward the restaurant. It was easy to spot him, even this far away. A retired Air Force officer, he still walks a bit like a soldier, and keeps his hair shorter than most civilian men his age. I never really liked military guys, but his kind personality, easy smile, and sharp, barking laugh had won me over after our second date. As he approached the restaurant door, he noticed us, and kept walking, clearly pleased he’d be able to meet my mother a few minutes earlier than planned. “Mom,” I whispered. “That’s Eric.”

Mom quickly wiped the tear away and said into the phone: “Listen, honey, I don’t know if there’s anything else I can do for you right now. Your sister’s boyfriend just got here. I’m so sorry, but we have to go. We’ll call you when we get back to Bridget’s tonight.”

Mom put her phone back in her purse and turned toward Eric, who was now only a few feet away. She smiled brightly at him. “It’s so nice to finally meet you!” she said. “I’m Diane.”

Dinner was lovely, with Eric and my mom clearly both trying to impress one another. My mother was her usual charming self, and Eric was witty and funny and kind. I was happy they were getting along so well, but also distracted. I found myself running one hand up the back of my neck a few times, toward my massive bun. Would alopecia come for me next?

When the check came, Eric and my mother both reached for it at the same time, then laughed, playfully arguing over who would be picking up the tab. Finally Mom prevailed, but not before Eric had made her promise that she’d let him pay for dinner another night while she was still in town. He walked us back to my apartment and Mom invited him to join us for a cocktail upstairs. Eric shot me a sideways glance to make sure it wasn’t some sort of test, and began to demur.

“No, really,” I said, knowing that as soon as our evening ended we’d have to call Laura back. I was in no hurry for that. “You two are getting along so well, it would be a shame to send you home just yet. I’ve got a full bottle of lambrusco and a half box of chocolates upstairs. Come help us finish them?”

Eric dutifully followed us into the building and gave my hand a quick squeeze as we boarded the elevator. I stepped out ahead of my mom and him so I could unlock my apartment door. As it swung open, I remembered: my mother’s wigs. The were hanging everywhere.

Eric had stood back to let my mother enter ahead of him. Once he stepped inside and noticed the wigs hanging everywhere, I saw a momentary flash of—what was it? bemusement? confusion?—cross his face, but he quickly recovered. “Gosh, Bridget,” he joked, “I didn’t know your mom was going to redecorate your place!”

The wigs were so much a part of my mother’s life by that point that she felt no shame or embarrassment about them. “Oh, did Bridget not tell you? I travel with tribbles.”

We sat in my living room for the next hour and a half, getting through the chocolate and the lambrusco and also a healthy amount of whiskey. At some point I took my hair down and let it fall down my back, almost to my hips. Sitting next to me with one hand around my back, Eric would sometimes absentmindedly stroke it while the three of us chatted. After a while, Eric stood. “I should head out. You two ladies enjoy the rest of your evening.” He stooped to kiss my mother on her cheek, then I walked him to the door. “Your mother is great,” he whispered to me as he leaned in for a quick goodnight kiss. I had to agree.

We called Laura back after Eric left and mostly listened to her cry. She really did have lovely hair, blonde to my brunette, curly to my loose waves. I felt for her. As much fun as I thought it might be to play with wigs like our mother does, I didn’t know what I’d do if I woke up the next day with a bald spot.

I found myself playing with my hair a lot over the next few days, searching my scalp to make sure there no bald spots had suddenly appeared. My sister called a few days later, after her doctor’s appointment. The doctor had confirmed Laura’s fears: it was alopecia. It wasn’t clear at this point what kind of alopecia—it may very well have been stress related, given her demanding job and status as the single mother to rambunctious twin boys—but knowing her mother also had it, the doctor had warned her it may very well have been the same kind as my mother’s. Laura sobbed into the phone as she told us the news. She was worried about what the other moms at the boys’ school would think. Worried no man would fall in love with her again. Worried she’d be hideous.

Mom shed a few guilty tears but tried to sound upbeat on the phone. “Well, let’s see how things go. And if worse comes to worst, I’ll introduce you to my wig lady.”

Eric took us out for dinner that night. I wore my hair down and noticed the attention it received from others in the restaurant. My mother, wearing a blonde bobbed wig she called “Joan” after Joan Rivers, beamed—after all, half of my genes were hers, and as long as the looks were respectful, she considered them a high compliment. We all wound up in my apartment again after dinner. This time, my mom offered to mix up sidecars for everyone. She was leaving the next morning and had packed many of her things, but the wigs were still hanging from various hooks and rods and lampshades around my apartment. “I hope you don’t mind my asking, Diana,” Eric said as Mom handed him a second cocktail, “but is there a story with the wigs? It might have been quite a shock when you turned up at the restaurant with completely different hair if I hadn’t’ve seen the collection the other night.”

“Oh, Eric,” my mom said. “This is only a small part of my collection. Did Bridget not tell you? I have alopecia. There’s not much hair left on my head. I thought I might as well make something good happen out of it.”

“No,” Eric replied. “It’s never come up.”

“Well, it’s something that probably should come up now. Bridget’s sister was just diagnosed with alopecia, and there’s a chance Bridget might wind up with it someday, too.”

“I didn’t realize it was genetic.”

My mom nodded. “Sometimes. It can be caused by a lot of things. For it to be genetic, it has to come from both sides of the family. So unless someone on my husband’s family tree also went unexpectedly bald, it’s possible this is just an unfortunate coincidence. Still, if it is genetic, I’d feel terrible about it, because that also means there’s a chance Bridget will develop it, too.”

I felt Eric shift beside me. I was worried he might be upset at the idea of a future hypothetical bald partner. It certainly upset me. But he responded quite calmly. “If she does, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

I heard from Laura every couple of days after Mom flew back home, usually with a report on her hair. The golf ball-sized bald spot was now as large as a tennis ball, and a second spot seemed to be appearing over her left temple. Sometimes she would send me a photo without any context: a close-up of one of the bald spots, or her sink, filled with hair. I felt for my sister, but I was grateful that all my hair seemed content to remain attached to my head. Every time we spoke, I’d ask her if I could do anything. She always said she’d let me know.

Things were continuing nicely with Eric, too. He’d passed the mom test and didn’t seem to be put off in the least by the whole my-girlfriend-might-go-bald-someday thing. Still, I knew he loved my hair, from the way he’d stroke it gently as we snuggled on the sofa watching TV and ran his fingers through it after we made love.

We had already talked about moving in together when my lease expired, and with my mother’s blessing of our relationship now secured, I began moving my things over to his much larger apartment. Six weeks later, a moving truck took the rest of my belongings the fifteen blocks from my place to Eric’s, and we began a new chapter in our relationship. Exhausted from moving, we ordered a pizza and a six-pack and collapsed on the sofa, discussing whether we’d keep his sofa or mine—something we admittedly should have discussed before the movers brought mine in and, finding no place to set it, left it sitting on its end in a corner of the living room. My phone lit up—a notification that my sister had gone live on Instagram.

“That’s weird,” I said. “She only uses Instagram to post photos of the boys.”

“Do you want to watch it?” Eric asked. I nodded and tapped on the screen.

We caught the stream mid-sentence. “…and I’ve decided I can’t let that control my life.” My sister was sitting on a chair with a drop cloth or sheet draped over her shoulders, and I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Laura’s hair, though visibly thinner than I was used to seeing it, still hung in long blonde curls. “I was so inspired by all of you who have been posting videos with the hashtag ‘I am not my hair’ challenge, that I’ve decided to follow suit. I can’t expect other people in my life to show their solidarity for what I’m going through if I’m in denial of it myself. So I’m going to do what so many of you—both alopecia patients and their supporters—have already done. Tonight, this,” she held up a handful of hair, “is all going. And this,” she brushed her hair up above her ear, revealing the sizable bald spot there, “will not define me.” Laura gestured off camera and her sons—my seven-year-old nephews, were suddenly in the frame. “I’ve got some very special helpers today. Landon? Gregory? You ready for what we talked about?”

The boys nodded and my sister handed them each a pair of scissors. “The boys are going to help me get rid of this mop,” Laura explained. “We did a little practice on an old Barbie doll today so they’d know to be careful around anything that’s not hair. I think they did a pretty good job. What do you think?” She held up a doll whose hair had been chopped away at every angle and laughed. Then she leaned forward to lower her head to a height that would be more accessible to her sons. “Let’s do it!”

Eric and I watched as my nephews gleefully hacked off the long  blonde hair that had not yet fallen victim to my sister’s disease. They laughed gleefully, sometimes throwing a handful of hair at each other before resuming. After a few minutes, Laura told them to stop. When she sat up, she resembled the Barbie doll she had so recently shown us. The hair left on her head ranged in length from a fraction of an inch to four inches in length, and several bald spots emerged—not just the one at her temple, but also one near the crown of her head and the one I assumed was the spot she initially showed us, visible as she turned her head to kiss the boys and tell them to go back to their game. She reached behind her for the spot where she had earlier retrieved the Barbie and pulled out a set of clippers, which she immediately turned on. I noticed there was no guard on them. “And now I just have to take care of the rest,” she said to the camera. She raised her left to the top of her head and pulled the hair that was still there, backward. With her right hand she raised the clippers to her forehead and pushed them backward without hesitation. a strip of pale flesh appeared, no visible hair concealing it. She stopped the clippers for a moment and ran her left hand along the runway she had just created along the top of her head. “This is so weird!” she exclaimed. “But I’m glad I’m doing it.”

Laura switched the clippers back on and returned them to her forehead, where she quickly made another pass. Then another, and another, until the entire top of her head was revealed. “She looks like my Uncle Morty,” I said to Eric, both amused and horrified. He gave my knee a squeeze but didn’t say anything.

On the screen, I saw Laura waving to someone off camera. Another woman appeared, her hair in a chestnut-colored braid ending between her shoulder blades. “This is Rita,” Laura said. “She’s been my stylist for ten years. She’s going to help me finish this up.” Rita stood behind my sister’s chair and gently eased Laura’s left ear toward her left shoulder so she could better strip what hair remained on the right side of my sister’s head to the faintest stubble. In mere moments, there was nothing left, and the stylist was directing Laura to lean her head in the other direction. Laura complied, and soon the left side of her head was as bare as the right. Only the hair on the back of her head now remained—and there wasn’t much, due to the large bald spot she had back there. Rita eased Laura’s chin toward her chest and placed the clippers somewhere on the back of Laura’s head. In a minute or two, she turned the machine off and began to run her fingers over Laura’s scalp, making sure she hadn’t missed anything. The stylist turned the machine back on to re-clipper a few spots, and then my sister raised her newly bald head, looking toward the camera. She looked alien. Strange. But also beautiful. And relieved.

Rita placed a hand mirror in front of Laura, who shrieked and brought both hands up to her head. “I never, ever thought I’d shave my head,” my sister said after Rita lowered the mirror. Her hands were still touching the bare skin. “This is going to take a lot of getting used to. But I’m glad I seized control back from my disease. I get to set the rules. And now I’m issuing the ‘I am not my hair’ challenge to others to do the same thing I just did, either to wrest control of your disease or to normalize baldness as a way to support loved ones with alopecia. These are all people I know—I’m not going to challenge random internet celebrities—but certainly if any high profile influencers want to jump in on this, we’d love the support. That being said, I’m challenging Hope Capaldi, who was recently diagnosed with alopecia and posted a beautiful story about it this morning; Summer Wiley, who has been documenting her alopecia journey through music; Jason Silver, who recently posted about how alopecia affects men, too, to participate in the #iamnotmyhair challenge. And one last challenge going to someone who does not have alopecia, but whose support I’ve always been able to count on, no matter what: my sister, Bridget Schwartz.” She blew a kiss at the camera. “Goodnight everyone. I love you!”

The stream ended and I dropped my phone on the floor, shocked. “Why would she include me in this?” I asked Eric. “I don’t have any signs of alopecia yet!”

“You’re her big sister,” Eric said gently, picking up my phone. “Your support means a lot.”

“Can’t I support her without shaving my head? Just, like, post the hashtag to raise awareness?”

“You can,” he said, swiping across my phone screen. “But it looks like everyone using the ‘I am not my hair’ challenge hashtag has committed to it fully.” He angled the phone toward me and scrolled through a number of photos and videos, all of which showed people of all genders chopping their hair off or having it chopped off for them. Some were left with a few inches of hair at the end—clearly, this group was composed entirely of allies and supporters—some were lathered and shaved to the skin. None had hair remotely as long as mine by the end of their challenge, although some started that way.

“I…I don’t think I can,” I said, without taking my eyes off my phone. I just kept scrolling.

Eric was silent for a moment. He tucked a lock of hair behind my ear and cupped my chin in his hands, gently redirecting my gaze from my phone to his face. “I think you should do it,” he said.

“What?!” I was shocked.

“Hair grows. Or if it doesn’t grow back, you’ll know that you have alopecia and it was only a matter of time.”

“But I love my hair. You love my hair.”

He nodded. “You do have beautiful hair. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss it. But I love you. And you love your sister. I’ve heard you on the phone asking if you can do anything for her. If you meant it, you’ll do this.”

He was right. I remembered how hard it had been for my mom when she began going through this. She felt alone. She didn’t know who to talk to. I couldn’t let my sister feel the same way. “Do I…do I have to shave it completely, do you think?” I was practically whimpering.

“You don’t have to do anything. But if you want to do this, no, I don’t think it’s necessary to go as short as your sister and some of the other folks doing the challenge did. In fact, much as I do think you should do this and will support you with whatever you decide, I’d prefer it if there was at least a little hair still left on your head at the end of this.”

“I don’t want to film it.”

“You don’t have to. You can just post a before and after photo. Or not post anything at all and send the photos straight to your sister.”

“Will you help me?”

“I’ll do whatever you want. I don’t know anything about cutting hair, though.”

“Are clippers that hard to operate?”

Eric raised an eyebrow, grinned. “No. I don’t suppose they are.”

“You cut your own hair, right?”

“Sometimes, yeah.”

“So you have clippers? In this apartment?”

“Somewhere. If I can find them in the midst of all this chaos,” he said, gesturing around the room to my boxes.

“Find them. If we don’t do this now, I’m going to change my mind.”

A few minutes later, Eric emerged from the bathroom, holding a small pouch containing his clippers, as well as one of my hairbrushes. “I found them under the sink, behind your blowdryer.”

I grimaced at the unintentional reminder that it would be quite some time before I’d need the very expensive hair dryer I had bought only a few months before.

“Where do you want to do this? In the bathroom so you’re in front of the mirror, or in the kitchen where you don’t have to watch?” God, he was so thoughtful.

“Let’s do it in the kitchen. I don’t think I could handle watching.”

He put several old newspapers on the kitchen floor and then retrieved a barstool and a towel, which he’d presumably use to drape around my shoulders. I opened another beer to help calm my nerves as he plugged the clippers in and turned them on, then dripped some oil onto their blades. After he was satisfied the machine was working smoothly, he turned the clippers off and patted the chair. “I’m ready whenever you are.”

I gulped down the rest of the beer in the can and moved with unsteady legs toward the kitchen, finally taking a seat. Gently, Eric lifted my hair up and draped the towel over my shoulders before letting my hair fall back. I’d miss that feeling of the heavy ripples of hair chasing each other down my back. How long before I could feel that again?

Eric picked up the hairbrush and began to gently work it through my hair. He’d done this many times in the past, when I asked him. He was good at it. I’d miss it. I was almost feeling relaxed, between the gentle brushstrokes and the beer traveling through my body, making me feel warm and tingly. All too soon, he stopped.

“I don’t have hair scissors,” he said. “Just the clippers.”


“So I don’t know any way of going about this other than just getting started.

“Wait,” I told him. “I want to see if I can donate my hair, so I want to cut it off in a ponytail. I have very sharp fabric scissors in a box labeled “crafts” that’s in the guest room. Grab those and also a hair tie.”

“The hair tie should be easy. You have a tendency to leave them around.”

“Yeah, well, not for much longer, I guess.” Eric kissed me on top of my head and walked down the hall, reemerging a few minutes later with a scrunchie and my fabric scissors. I took the former and gathered my hair into a loose ponytail at the base of my neck, then draped the hair over my shoulder and petted it one last time. “Okay,” I finally said. I pushed the ponytail back behind me. “You can start.”

Eric knew better than to ask if I was sure. He placed the fabric scissors just above the scrunchie and began to cut. It required quite a bit of effort on his part—although I kept my scissors sharp, fabric and hair are very different. I could feel a slight tugging at the base of my skull each time he opened and closed the blades, but more unnerving was the sound of my hair being severed. Schrink. Schrink. Schrink. At that point I just wanted it to be over—I didn’t even care that I was parting with what I’d always thought of as my best feature, as long as it meant I wouldn’t have to hear that agonizing sound anytime soon.

Finally the sound of cutting stopped and I felt the ponytail come away. “I’m going to put this down behind you, so you don’t have to see it,” Eric said. I was grateful for that. It was already overwhelming. For the first time since I was in middle school, I felt hairs tickle the back of my neck and the sides of my face. I resisted the urge to raise my hands and ascertain the damage, knowing there was more where that came from.

I heard Eric rummaging around, the sound of plastic on plastic. Then, something clicked into place and the clippers came alive. “Okay,” Eric said. “I’m not sure the best place to start so I’m just going to start.” I felt the vibrating machine come to my forehead, then Eric gave my shoulder a little squeeze with his other hand as he pulled the machine backward, over the top of my head. The humming changed pitch and I felt pleasant vibrations not just where the clippers passed, but all the way down my neck and arms. I would have enjoyed it further, if I didn’t know what they were taking from me as they moved.

Eric brought the clippers to my forehead again and made another pass. After this one, he leaned over to kiss me again on the top of the head as he had before, only this time I could feel the warmth of his lips on my skin, something I never felt when that area was covered by feet of hair. He continued his work, each time moving the clippers slightly farther toward my right and eventually asking me if I could hold my ear down so he could buzz the area around it. He returned to the center, this time working toward my left. After each pass of the warm blades, more cool breeze revealed itself to the top of my head. Soon, I was holding my left ear down, as I had my right. Soon, I could tell there was very little left there for Eric to clipper.

Gently, Eric put his left hand on top of my head. It felt big and warm and strong, and the short hairs beneath it moved across my scalp in such a way that felt as if he were tickling me. He used the hand to guide my chin toward my chest and brought his clippers to the base of my neck, then pushed them upward, meeting near the crown of my head, where the passes he had taken from my forehead had stopped. I knew then that I had at least one strip of my head that was completely denuded. Another soon joined it, as Eric made his next pass, then his next, up and over and up and over. The rhythm and the warmth and the vibrations might have lulled me to sleep, except that I was too nervous about how I would look when he finished. Soon—somehow I almost thought too soon—he turned the machine off and began to inspect my head with his fingers, checking to make sure he hadn’t left any straggler hairs behind. He turned the clippers back on briefly to clean up a few spots and turned them off again. “Hold still and keep your chin down,” he said. I heard him remove the guard.

I was worried for a minute that he might have changed his mind about wanting to leave me with at least some hair, but then I realized he was just very carefully trimming up my neck so my hairline was neat. Finally, he turned the machine off and stepped in front of me, studying his very transformed girlfriend. He didn’t say anything. Instead, he took me by both hands and helped me off the stool, then, walking backward, he led me toward the bathroom. “Close your eyes,” he said as we neared the door. I did as told until we stopped walking and he let go of both of my hands. “Keep them closed,” he instructed. I felt him walk around behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist and nuzzling his face into my neck, right behind my ear. “You’re beautiful,” he said softly, not so much in a whisper as in a low growl. “Open your eyes.”

I did as I was told. I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror. I saw two shortly cropped heads where I had previously expected one. Eric’s, so familiar to me over the last nine months, partly obscured as he kissed my neck. And then mine, the hair just barely longer than his—perhaps half an inch in length, perhaps slightly less. I studied myself in the mirror. Without all that hair I looked different. Even though I had worn my hair up frequently, my features did not look the same as I studied them in that moment. My eyes looked bigger and wider set. My nose, which I had never given any thought to at all, was small and cute. So too, I was relieved to see, were my ears. My lips were full. My cheekbones pronounced. And my neck, which Eric was still kissing, so, so long. He was right. I was beautiful. Different and perhaps a little strange but my fears that I would lose my beauty, my femininity, once I lost my hair were unfounded. I knew in that moment that, unless I, too wound up with alopecia, I was not going to keep my hair that short forever; I also knew that I wouldn’t grow it back right away.

I turned toward Eric and wrapped my arms around his neck. “Thank you,” I said, kissing him deeply. He placed his hands on my hips and lifted me onto the bathroom counter. I kept my hips lifted so he could slide my pants off and once he did, reached for his fly so his pants would drop to the ground. I hadn’t realized how aroused I was until Eric guided a finger between my thighs and without even entering me fully removed it, shiny and wet with my own juices. I wrapped my legs around his waist and drew him closer to me, using my hands to help guide him home. We made love passionately, furiously, our arms wrapped around each other’s velvet-covered heads, hot breath on each other’s ears and necks. And when we finally finished, Eric helped lower me off the counter and began to guide me toward what was now our bedroom. It had been a long, and strangely emotional, day. “One thing first,” I said. Walking back into the kitchen, I found my phone and noticed the mountains of  hair piled up all around the barstool. Hard to believe that all came off my head after he’d cut my ponytail.

Speaking of, I found what I was looking for. Raising my phone over the two feet of hair, bundled together in one of my favorite scrunchies, I took a quick photo and sent it to my sister and mother without any comment. Knowing that they would probably want to call me as soon as she saw it, and knowing I had a wonderful man who still loved me no matter how short my hair waiting for me in bed, possibly to continue where we left off in the bathroom, I powered my phone all the way off, returned it to the kitchen counter, and walked back along the hall to where I knew Eric was waiting for me.

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