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June 25, 2015 Fiction


Glenn Shaheen

Milk photo

I keep finding medium length blond hairs on old shirts I haven’t worn in two or three years. My hair is short and black, and my lover’s hair is long and brown. I mention the hair to my lover, in idle passing, the general sort of banal logorrhea that tumbles out of the mouth. My lover jokes that the hair was an ex’s, that I should wash my shirts more often. We laugh, but I have never dated anybody with medium length blond hair, or any length blond hair, although it has been pointed out that I have a tough time discerning what blond really is. I think, for example, that Marie, our friend from Idaho, has light brown hair, but my lover says it is clearly blond hair, that I must be joking. I can tell when very blond hair is blond, definitively yellowish or almost white, but the borderline hair, the dirty blonds, are fuzzy to me, like some greens, blues, and turquoises. They run together, and when a group of four or five people including my lover all say that I’m wrong and the shirt is definitively blue, that the woman is definitively blond, I get uncomfortable, I feel like I’m passing out, the part of a dream where you know it’s a dream but are still paralyzed by terror, cannot move, cannot cry for help. I feel the tethers of the world around me and yet I know as I age that more and more of them become severed. The blond hairs show up on more shirts, even tangled around my clean underwear. We make tortilla soup and I pull a cheesy hair out of my mouth, blond. Who was this person? Could I have loved some blond haired woman with a medium length cut and forgotten about it? I visited home recently and my brothers and sisters recounted the time I found a bat, and tried to nurse it back to health. I don’t remember any of it. A sewage pipe in our house had broken and our cellar was flooded with stench. A bat made its way to our kitchen and I caught him, I placed him in a jar with some milk. My intentions seemed good, I don’t know – the bat drowned in the milk. It was weak and fell face first into the milk and drowned. My brothers and sisters laughed, they said I was distraught and it sounds like a sad story but it’s only pictures in my mind. I see myself from the outside, a kid in a blue shirt, holding a jar up to the light.



image: Aaron Burch