In the hairdresser's chair.
"Are we keeping the length?" she asks in that gentle, brittle way that tells me she doesn't think it looks good on me.
I don't think it looks good on me either, but honestly, I don't know what does.
"Well..." I say. "I don't know."
She pinches my hair between her fingers.
"We could cut this off," she says, "just to here. How about that?"
"Okay," I say. "Do what you think looks best."
With whispery metallic snicks, twelve inches of hair slides to the floor. I stare into the mirror, at the slab that is my face. Do I look good now? I can't tell.
I accidentally lock the cat in my bedroom. She's in there for five hours. She shits on my bed.
When I get home from work, I'm greeted by the stinky pile, the edges of my blanket dragged toward it like a black hole by the cat trying to bury her shame.
That's what I get for not checking under my bed.
I scoop and flush the poop, and strip my blankets off the bed. If I can get them into the laundry now I can get them into the dryer before I have to go to the gym.
It's close. I change into my gym clothes. I'm standing in front of the washer, watching my watch and the spin cycle. If I don't get my quilt into the dryer before I leave, it won't be dry enough to sleep with.
I decide it's worth being late to the gym in order to get this done.
Going to be a few minutes late, but I'll be there. I text my trainer.
That's fine. the test back reads You'll just have to do a calorie on the air bike for every minute that you're late.
Fuck. I hate the fucking air bike.
I throw the quilt into the dryer and speed down to the gym.
I'm five minutes late.
My trainer smiles at me and points at the air bike.
I put down my purse and get on the bike. I crank it as hard as I can, as fast as I can, and those calories tick down fast.
I get off the air bike.
"You did that really fast," my trainer says with a little pause. "Have you ever tried getting on the gym score board?"
"No," I scoff. "Are you kidding? I'm a genetic cross between a hobbit and a potato."
"We should test you," he says. "I bet you could get on it."
I go back on the air bike. 10 seconds gentle, 10 seconds hard as fuck, 10 seconds gentle.
I place second in the gym.
The producer calls me.
"Do you want me to fire him?" she asks. I feel heady with power. I have his job in my hands.
I think about the fallout if I say yes. I think about how many people will get fucked just by yanking him out of his current position. I think about how much harder *my* life will be trying to keep this train on the rails without him.
There's only six more weeks of the job.
"No," I tell her. "But I want to not be touched anymore. I don't care how that happens, I just don't want to be touched anymore."
She agrees that this will happen.
My hair gets in my face now. I have to scrape it back hard from my face, and use a hair tie. It used to be so long I could tie it in several knots, and it would stay secure, all day. Now it's everywhere.
I don't know what to do with it at night.
My next training session. There I am, on the board, second place. I'm second only to a woman named C, who trains before me.
"You guys are rivals now!" my trainer exclaims.
"Ummm, I don't do that kind of thing," I tell him.
"Well, I do!" says C, who is sweating and heaving on the stationary bike. She is VERY fit. Her shoulders swell like a man's.
"Come on," my trainer wheedles, "let's test you again! I bet you could beat her!"
I give him a flat look, but I'm in the mood to be cajoled.
So I get back on the airbike.
And I beat her by a solid margin.
Top of the gym. Me, the potato, top of the gym.
Well, for the women's, anyway. No freakin way I can beat the gym bros. Those guys are hardcore.
Later, I can taste blood in my breath. I tell this to my trainer.
"Yeah, that'll happen sometimes when you work out really hard. Isn't it great?!"
These people are insane, with insane ideas of great.