Every Trace

           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.

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