Sprung from her head and into the black infinity with its every strand holding the secrets of the many who had caressed it. Who had kissed it. Who had whispered to it. Who had buried their sorrows in it, confessed their sins into it and begged for mercy. Who on the edge of sleep, declared their devotion to it. Lovers, tyrants, beggars, heroes, sung and unsung. Dealers, gurus, wounded, liars, saints and seekers too.
There was once a tuk tukdriver in Cambodia, who wanted to smell her hair. An Italian who called her his Queen and would sit only at her feet, combing the ground for her fallen hair to keep. In the not so distant past, her mother brushes her hair ardently as she brushes mine.
There was a poetess, who wrote an ode to her hair. Every strand holding a story. Of those too young to have died and those too cruel to have lived so long. Of those who went looking for the truth, only to return either deceived, defeated or mad. Of her mother’s journey across the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic and across the Great Plains. Of her father’s, a man of great taste, a poet, a painter, a lover of cherry trees who lost all too late and his memory of them even later. There was the communist who later became a dentist. The artist, who refused her love to pursue another’s and who grew old alone. And the one who returned to his woman, but who still asks about her. Those who changed the course of history with a smile, with a lie, with a gun, with a pen, with a song. Across the borders from India to Persia to Oroopa and Amrika. One summer in Berlin, an Irish man left her with a bit of the dew from the north along with the memory of his dead wife.
She came close to cutting her hair. To lighten her load. To begin again. But then while walking along a riverbank in a new city, her hair would brush against her neck and she would not feel so alone.
She thought about her dead mother. People said they were nothing alike, except for their hair. But what do people really know?
These days as she traveled to far off places, laid with lovers, wept in art galleries; as she read poetry and tried even writing some; as she reluctantly gave up her youth for a bit of grace, maybe even wisdom, and considered giving her heart to another again and this time for good, she felt her mother through her.
From across the Atlantic and America, when she felt strong enough to remember, she’d pluck a single hair from her head and send it to him along with a story. In the beginning she’d tell him whose story he was hearing. Hers. Her mother’s. Her sister’s. Her great aunt’s. But after a while she came to understand that they were all hers now. And she began to understand why, at times, when he looked into her eyes through the pixels of the screen and she looked back into his inquisitively, what she was asking him was if he could hear them all. Hold them all. Love them all.