A/N: I just want to say how much I dislike this title, but I couldn't think of anything else so...Anyway, read on.
You start to find long, vibrant red hairs on your couch and your shirts and your jacket. You're sitting at your desk, staring at your monitor like you're actually doing work when you notice one on your tie. You grab at it with your thumb and forefinger, pulling it away from your tie and holding it up to the light briefly and looking at it. You quickly let it fall to the ground, watching it makes its way down.
You find one on your bag as you sling it over your shoulder at five o'clock. You do the same thing with it and this time she notices the action because you're standing by her desk as you do it. You both watch it as it twists and twirls its way down to the carpet. As if that will make it disappear, as if letting it get caught in the fibers of the carpet will make it go away. She briefly meets your eyes before turning to put on her coat and walk out the door.
One morning you find one in your shower, stuck to the curtain, wet. You do what you always do with the hairs you find, only this time you feel a little pang in the pit of your stomach and you're not at all sure what that pang means. And now they're on your pillow and bed sheets and every place that once only belonged to you.
There's one on the headrest of your passenger seat. There's one on the leg of your pants. There's one stuck between the B and the spacebar on your keyboard. (This one you consider with a curious eye, trying to figure out how it got there.) There's one on your sleeve when you're leaning across the reception desk to talk to her. This one she picks off for you with a smile that kills you.
And one day she says, "You and Katy are getting pretty serious, huh?" And you nod and say, "Uh, yeah, I guess so." And as you're about to walk away from her, she says, "You've got a hair on your shoulder." You brush it off.
Her hair starts to cover everything and sometimes you find them in your mouth when you're falling asleep at night.
You are trying to love her. You are trying to feel something, anything. You can't. You're incapable. She's beautiful and laughs at everything you say, but you feel indifferent to the entire situation. You could care less if she's there or not. And the sex is just something to pass the time. Something that lets your mind go blank for awhile. You aren't trying. You gave up at the beginning. You entered into this already defeated.
When you find one of her hairs on the back of your desk chair one day, you try to make it curlier with your fingernails so it'll look like…You stop and let it fall to the ground like all the others. You glance over at reception and her eyes are looking down at something on her desk. She glances up at you and you think you smile, but she doesn't react as if you did. She turns to her computer screen quickly.
You are close on that cruise. Close to saying it. You think she should read it in your face out on the deck of the boat. You think you shouldn't have to say anything, that she should just know. And you feel as though there's hair in your mouth, blocking the words, barricading them in your throat. So you don't say it then and you don't get the chance to say it later after you've rinsed your mouth out with three cheap beers from the bar.
She asks you a question that makes you imagine the future. And it's not with her; it's never been with her. The past few months are out of focus in your mind and only at that moment do you view them for the first time with any sense of clarity. The images become sharper and you suddenly despise yourself. You suddenly can't stand the thought of being next to her. So you say, "No," and shake your head with indifference. You don't mind that she's angry and you don't mind the awkwardness of the rest of the evening.
Still you feel lonely in a completely new way as your eye catches the glimmer of a ring on a hand on a chest that isn't yours. An image so wrought with finality that you have to turn away.
It's your own hair on the pillow the next morning. Your own hair on the shower curtain. Short, brown, yours. And it's all you have now. Yourself. There's no one to make you numb. No one to filter out these feelings. And you think you can handle it on your own. You convince yourself that you can walk into that building and see her and not break. You won't think of the deadline you now have or how quickly five months can go by. You won't, you can't.
You almost succeed. But come April, you call her (because you don't care enough to find anyone else) and you apologize. You're not lying when you tell her you need her. And soon you start to find the hairs again. You pick them off and you ignore that pang in your stomach and you ignore the soft, sad smiles you see in your periphery coming from behind the reception desk. You don't allow your eyes to leave that hair until it finishes its slow descent. Then you look up, but her back is turned to you and that pang in your stomach burrows itself deeper. But, you tell yourself: You won't, you can't.