She is back, my pretty one. The long and limber, svelte and ephemeral. A barely-there hair.
I don’t remember her growing, only woke to find her trapped in lips tight with the wishings of silent dreams. Back again. I greet her like a friend though there is an air of the uncanny about her. Familiar but strange. A regurgitation, reincarnation of the canny waxed unknowable.
She seems thinner, this time around. A quiet contradiction of the science gleaned over years spent standing in supermarket aisles contemplating razor multipacks, a meagre student budget, and a margin of error stretched wide by the probability of ingrowns, the plausibility of a rash.
She is an exception to the rule of constructed maintenance; one flighty anomaly of the tweezed warriors who are plucked only to be reborn thicker, longer, darker than before. Those bulbous follicles rooted in the ire of their untimely death that resurge militant, hostile in their bristled wriggle for vengeance.
She dances. In that top-right corner of my upper lip – the place where Mother’s kiss inhabits – satin and sheer. She is pale and limp, as if she doesn’t know the odds are stacked against her, as if she doesn’t know she has dug herself out and into an unwanting world. That her explosion is only the beginning of her struggle; the lipid warmth of her subcutaneous womb was the closest to safety she can ever know.
I feel her, move tongue up and over to trace her silhouette. I enjoy the pull of her. It grounds me, somehow. I wonder if she is noticeable, there and taunting to others other than me. Do they see her when I turn away, stand oblivious in profile, while she protrudes brazenly in sardonic curl? Do they notice my hands and lips twitching in the unconscious urge to touch her, stroke her? Does she disgust? Revile? Repel? Irritate?
I hope so.
Revel delightedly in the subversion.
Like when my legs grow grassy and long and I swing them out into the sunshine, flaunt them in bikini bottoms and flouncy skirts and watch. As people look, look away, look back as assumptions and normalities collide with the soft fleece of my hairy reality. The attempt not to stare but the stare anyway. The moments of processing, the seconds of concerted recalibration, the revulsion belied by lips compressed, brow fleetingly furrowed and then, amongst the audacious, the exclamations of wonderment, surprise, unbridled horror: HOLLY!
She is curled up like a cat, tucked into my kiss and somniferous. Her presence comforts me. I do not know why.
I refuse to look for her. In the flat plains of the bathroom mirror, in the mirage of handheld compacts, in the dark eyes of silent department stores. But I draw her constantly in my mind’s eye. Have her image scratched into my consciousness like a scar. I draw her silhouette with my tongue, tracing the arc of her maturation like a grand master. She is more real for the not seeing, for the imagining. I feel reassured. She reassures me.
By the continuity of her, persistence of her, her gentle rebirth.
Warren Ellis says to proceed with absolute confidence. She does. Out of the skin, over the lip, into my mouth – a swan dive ignorant and oblivious to social distance or personal space. She does what I cannot – persists in her truth, her journey even when it is one decried and despised. I find purity with her.
I should be horrified, repulsed, repelled. Instead, I delight! When she front crawls into food, slithers into intimacy, lathers herself in the scud of my five-dollar coffee.
And so I don’t know what to do with her. Where to leave her, when to reign her in, how to lower the glass ceiling when she’s gone too far, is too much, when the world and I conclude what we always must: we are not ready for her. When will the pruning come?
Because it comes, it always comes. We are only allowed to run with the expectation that we will stop, wear ourselves out, exhaust our exhaustiveness. Free reign is a pithy lie because what freedom is there in being tethered?
I stand her executioner. Twirl her like an evil villain does his waxed moustache, contemplating destruction, lazy as a puss with a mouse caught helpless in its paw. Perhaps feeling most pleasure in how she grows because I know I can and will stop it. Is this the true joy of gardening? The Godlike rush of knowing you control the rise and fall of life, however small, however subcutaneous that may be?
Someday soon I will need to fell her. Her advances will be too much, she will encroach too far, too fast. But, until then, I will continue my humble idolatry and –
Proceed with absolute confidence. Do not question your right to be there, here. Do not question where you are going, just go.
She does she does she does.