When I was twelve, I laid in bed for a month, my head pinned down by the beak of a massive black raven. I stayed in the dark and refused to speak. Eventually my mother lured me out with a cherry Slurpee to get an MRI to make sure my brain wasn’t riddled with tumors. On the way there, as I sipped the frozen, bright red sugar, we talked about what it would be like if my famous curls all fell out. Would I wear a wig? Would I choose to be bald? We talked as if it would be so tragic, but I was secretly hopeful. I wanted to have something visible, something everyone else could see, something that would force my father to love me and my mother leave me alone, quit shoving me out of my room. Maybe cancer would feel better than this?
I threw up in the MRI and everyone panicked. When they found out it was not blood, but Slurpee, the tone changed. They were annoyed, but polite.
I did not have any tumors, just “chronic tension headaches and depression”. I kept my hair.