I got lice once.
My mother would say it was one of the lowest points of my early childhood.
I might have to agree with her.
I had this long hair, down to my hips. Imagine a 5 year old little olive skinned girl with huge eyes, huger dimples and jet black hair. Maybe my refusal to cut my hair now is to redeem myself from the pain I had to endure that year.
Because I had to get it cut short. Really short. I probably suffered from acute depression that week. I discovered Dickens that week. I read Great Expectations and thought Miss Havisham was awesome that week.
Why? Because Tracy from Apple Class and her lice ridden hair found its way to mine and after an hour of being unable to breathe from the smell of the remover tonic and my scalp bleeding from my mother running the comb through it so many times, I was once again lice-free.
So we cut my hair as a preventative measure. I went to state school in inner city London, it very well could have.
And so, completely unrelated (or maybe not), I do this with every man.
I comb through all of them, repeatedly, precisely, relentlessly. I find the little balls of filth they’ve picked up somewhere along the way where they were told to ‘be a man’.
I find them, I comb them out, then I cut them out of my life.
And it’s funny because I’m always ready with my comb. I’m always ready to douse them with pungent remover because there’s always something to find. Always. I always feel better once I find it. I feel cured. Am I happy? No.
I always think of Miss Havisham every time I do. This bitter hatred swells inside me and then rests. It swells again every time I find more and more filth in the next Mr. MaybeLOLnot. It’s infuriating because I don’t want to see it but it’s right there between the picks, staring back at me. What is seen can never be unseen.
No one has ever needed to use a lice brush on hair that doesn’t have lice though, right? Does the scalp still bleed if you do? If you comb enough do you think you might find something?
What if you’re so used to being right that being proved wrong just isn’t feasible? What if you’re fighting so hard against your reflexes that it’s exhausting? What if that exhaustion is what stops you from being happy?
I need someone to come and rip this comb out of my hand.