Maybe it’s exhaustion. Tula playing with bells at 3am. Sleeping with my shirt off in cold weather. The odd sensation that I’m bleeding. But my bones feel heavy today. Even as I watched the fog lift. Outside it’s an opal – pale, pink, glittery. I’m looking for emeralds, but only find white crystals in patches of vitiligo.

I peeled the skin off an orange this morning. That thick white membrane. I felt it on my skin, in my skin, I felt I was pulling off my skin. A sore muscle and I see it red, a wave of tendons rolling down my arm.
The open doors are facing each other and it makes me nervous to see the keyhole gasping like that.

Last night, Pat and I got our haircuts together. I took him to my salon and walked in like I owned the place, or not really, just walked in like I knew the place, which I did. I was a body, overconfident, making small talk with the stylists – is this how normal people do it? Talk and not hear themselves talking. talk and not second-guess it.
I wasn’t supposed to get a haircut, I didn’t have an appointment, but my stylist was there and I joked “Do you want to do another?” I had already planned it out in my head that I was going to say that in the hopes that she would give me a haircut – I needed one, I would be there anyway.
And when she said, “you need a trim?” I turned red.
I was in an empty swivel chair and she looked at me and said, “Have you been tanning?”
And she said something else I don’t remember and I said no.
“You’re all red and blotchy. Do you have high blood pressure?”
“Maybe.” which I don’t
And I swiveled my back to everyone, pretended I was looking at the small, calming water fountain.
“Yeah, cause normally you’re ghostly pale”
which I am
“Hey, thanks!” Like I can’t feel my skin hot, the red rising, the sweat, the color. I could be hard as a brick to knock through, but can explode with color like a cherry. It’s my tell. An overly-sensitive tell and I wish people would just ignore it.
“I’m just kidding,” she said. Which I knew she was. Who thinks this much? It’s terribly exhausting. And then I swiveled back around, looked in the mirror and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Anyway, I’m not really sure where this was going. But I got a haircut and pat did to and I gave her a big tip for some reason – I think because I didn’t have an appointment and she cut my hair anyway and we were the last people there and it was late and it’s good not to feel shaggy.
But FYI don’t tell poets when there’s something going on in their bodies – believe me they know. But do tell them if they have something in their teeth – sometimes they can’t feel that.
But if you do tell them about things they can feel, they won’t get mad. They’re mostly good people. They might even give you a big tip.

Oh and a pipe was leaking under the sink for maybe a month and Pat tried to fix it and tighten it and it started dripping faster. He’s not a handy man sometimes. So the landlord walked over and fixed it, but our house smelled like death water and rot stuck in a pipe. ugh – waste. The inside of waste. Terrible smell.

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6 Responses to Mish-mash

  1. I love this as I have a skin tell too. Beautiful writing Rachel. You get better each day. It makes me happy. It makes me feel joy to watch it to watch you unfold.

    • rachvb says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. It feels like an unfolding – of layers I’ve kept pretty tight to my body for so long. And a shedding and a growing. Lately, I’ve felt as if I’m welcoming a better part of myself back. And thank you always for the support and for reading and being here.

  2. I have a skin tell, too. My mother (though she may have said it to psych me out) told me I lit up like a tilt sign when I lied. Well, of course I still do. And for other reasons I don’t even know. Unfolding, shedding, re-emerging, a significant process for a writer, for a human bean. xo

    • rachvb says:

      It’s strange, mine didn’t start until after I graduated college and entered the “working world” or maybe it was there, just not as bad. I’m not sure. Now, I can’t get around it. It comes out in strange places. I try so hard NOT to give myself away and then it happens and I have no control – which is how things are in the world anyway. I’m sure once I get used to it it will go away. Your mother was a smart lady 😉
      Yes, we shed a lot. We are never in the same skin for long. Just look at all the dust – it’s proof!

  3. I have a skin tell, too. There’s no hiding it. And the harder one tries to become the pale and inconspicuous rock at the base of the lighthouse, the more one becomes the lighthouse, beams and heat flashing in all directions?!
    Some find it ‘rather fetching’ (my maternal grandmother’s term) – though I’d rather be able to have some say in the whole occurrence/recurrence. ; )
    Beautiful writing, Rachel – L, C xo

    • rachvb says:

      I love your lighthouse image. YES! That’s how it always is.
      I hate it! And it means about 5 different things: pissed, embarrassed, tooo much wine…
      I could tell you right now if I ever met any of you I’d turn beet red in a second for absolutely no reason.
      I think I was watching “House” once and this woman came in and had her blush mechanism like surgically altered because it always gave her away. (sure, sure).
      yes, a say in the matter would be nice…sigh. But I suppose things that are red are mostly pretty tasty – strawberries and cherries and tomatoes and raspberries. I guess it’s not so bad….

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