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You stare at the razor. Water beats down on the back of your head. Curdling water shrouds thoughts, sounds – the world beyond the bathroom door regrettably oblivious.
Rising with the steam of each jet: the same words, tumbling flooding out. A circuitous spit – spittle from girls you thought were your friends. Insults powdered in drugstore makeup. Enticements leashed by a school bell. Unknown catalysts dressed as jokes.
It’s just a joke. Get over it.
You stare at the razor, set before so much dark.
And that’s what the girls laughed at. Pointed their chubby polished fingers at and howled to the ceiling of the seventh-grade classroom – your dark leg hair. The teacher didn’t notice the slap of their words against your blushed bathroom tiles. The other students didn’t notice your silvery tears as the bathtub overflowed. No one noticed and no one said a thing.
You said something to your mother, asked if you could do something about it. Asked for help.
You’re too young for that, and mother rolled over and went back to sleep.
You stare at the razor. What if
the body is a magnificent thing: molded by godscience; had the Renaissance on its knees; elicited fire dancing gifts when Man was little younger than the dirt swirling in the shower drain; brings lovers to a point, then hands and heaven and exhales that fall into sleep. creates destroys creates destroys until – until we don’t know when. the body is a perfect thing, every dive and curve set with precision. each blink planned. each breath calculated. each life meant to be. every hair with its place and purpose, despite the magazines and mothers and men with ideals and mean, immature friends. who gives a fuck? who said everything needs to be so pretty and clean? what if i dont want to be pretty? what if i want to be a mess? what if i want to be like a goddamn savage? what if i want to be like a man? there’s a difference between the two? what if i like my hair? who cares?
Fuck. Who cares?
You stare at the razor. You think your friends who aren’t really your friends care. You think your mother cares – probably your father too. You think the boy you like cares (and the next one too). You think that it matters and that everyone cares and that you need to fix it.
Luckily, you are sweet – naïve to unhappiness and what a sad soul can bring. You still hold that bubble of awe we are all born with. You don’t know what not to do.
So you stare at the razor one last time and then take it to your calves. You shave your legs and armpits – the dark hairs falling from your pale skin and disappearing down the shower drain – and, with blessed oblivion, you never think of your wrists.
The same cannot be said for others.
Ceci K. Bradley
Ceci K. Bradley is an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing. She has two self-published zines: Not So Young and Reading Between the Line: A Collection of Blackout Poetry. She is originally from Tempe, Arizona. She currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa where she enjoys paddle boarding during the summer and trying not to freeze to death in the winter.