At his apartment, I go to the restroom. While I’m there, I check my makeup. My hair is messy, and it turns out that I forgot to bring a brush in my purse, so I use his. I smooth my hair, pull it up at the sides, fasten the crystal barrettes.
Then I lean against the sink and pluck the hairs out of his brush. Not all the hairs. Just the blondie hairs. My hairs.
It takes a minute or two to make sure I’ve got them all.
I put the brush back where I found it and roll the hair between my fingers into a tiny ball. Then I pluck out a tissue, wrap the hair in it, and place it into my purse.
I take it home with me.
It is only later, when I am cleaning out my handbag and throwing the tissue-wrapped hair into my own trash can, that I suddenly realize what I am doing. I freeze, my eyes widening.
I have done this many times before—my hair, tampons (even their paper wrappers), q-tips, even cotton balls used to remove or apply makeup. I do it automatically, without thinking about it.
I take back every trace of myself. Every piece of me.