Wide awake at 6 a.m. Gross. I make coffee, sit in bed, work on flights; hear that leslie is up too. A few hours later she comes in and sits on my bed. We plan our day—walk the mountain or on the beach? Beach. Morning or late afternoon (she can’t be in the sun between 10-2). Afternoon. One last grocery run for me this morning. Some social media tutorials after lunch but before our walk.
“Look,” Leslie interjects, running her hand through her hair (a common sight, except this time her hand emerges holding a thick lock of long amber hair.
“Ohmygod it’s starting?”
She nods, grinning and resumes the lock-producing-hair-raking. We agree it’s a good thing she didn’t change her head shaving appointment.
I find that for something we’ve been expecting, the sight of her pulling out clumps of hair still freaks me out and I tell her so. “Yeahokayso that’s creepy. Kinda.” Luckily she’s amused by it all—relieved that she took others’ advice to go ahead and shave her head at 2 weeks, rather than let it fall out in clumps over who knows how many weeks. “My hair is so thick can you imagine how long it would take?” she marvels. The room is filled with relief. My friend is still grinning as she walks to the kitchen to make breakfast and a shopping list.
Walk on the beach! Walk on the Beach! Walk on the beach!
“Look!” She pulls out a handful of hair and lets it fly in the ocean breezes. Some birds are going to be very happy today.
“Here, you do it,” She leans her head down towards me. “Harder, you really have to pull!”
I weave my fingers up from the base of her neck and attempt what I consider to be a hard pull. I’m at once fascinated but also afraid of hurting her. CC’s hair, compared to my super fine strands, is so thick—I only get a few strands.
“You gotta grab closer to my scalp. Try again,” she insists.
This time I get more of a clump of hair rather than a few timid strands. I hold on to my clump. I can’t loosen my grip. When CC’s not looking, I put it in my pocket with my shells and sea glass. They are all going home with me.
CC thinks I could do better but she lets me off the hook and grabs for more on her own.
“This is kinda cool! Look—I’m a science experiment!” More hair flutters from her fingertips up towards the blue sky and out towards to white capped waves. She looks more like a care free child blowing bubbles to the sea than a woman just beginning the scariest and most painful journey of her life.
With CC settled back in bed, I make my last trek to the store. We are running out of caption loaded glossy photo gossip mags (CC’s ChemoBrain can only handle short attention span style reading). the new issue of People can not come out soon enough. According to CC, when I text her with the current gossip rag selection at CVS, the Sexiest Man Alive special issue does not count. (I am not arguing with CC on this one.)
Back at the house, before we settle in for a mindless movie and froyo in bed, I begin to pack. First on my list—CC’s locket of hair. I’m putting it on my desk at home to remind me to hold CC close until, a year from now, she has fresh hair. That she will never want to pull out again.