I take a shower. This gives me an excuse to avoid hearing my roommate cycle through pet names for her five foot eight boyfriend Jason who lives in Berkeley. He couldn’t give a woman as much happiness in his entire life as a “sugar crumb honeynut croissant” would in a single bite, and I don’t want her to interpret my silence as consent.
I rough dry my hair with a towel until damp. I resist the urge to press it to my mouth and scream until I let out a single, shuddering sob. My roommate wouldn’t hear me over the Judd Apatow movie Jason is having her watch on his laptop through FaceTime, but that level of angst can be bad for my skin, and great hair is best complimented by a flawless complexion.
I split my hair into sections and wrap it around the plush belt of an old robe. It’s from my childhood, reminding me of the time before I had heard of phone sex, or regular sex, or what Jason sounds like coming on speaker when my roommate forgot I was asleep on the top bunk. When I walk through the background of their call tonight and he asks me “what the fuck is on your head?” I remind him that he wears beanies during sex. I’m not able to block out the sounds of their subsequent explosive argument just yet, but I’m so, so close.
I go to sleep. I do my best to get a solid eight hours, but it’s hard to sleep with something digging mercilessly into your skull, and also with curlers. When I wake, I unwind my hair, fluff, and add a texturizing hairspray for an extra sound-blocking boost. In the mirror, I confirm that my hair now possesses so much volume it will cancel noise better than a pair of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wirelesses. I relish the reduction of the couple’s uncomfortably suggestive morning greeting to mere inaudible murmurs, like a soothing ASMR made just for me. Shedding a single tear, I realize: I have finally overcome.
And with no heat damage!