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Monday, March 15, 2004

The burning

electroI contact an electrologist. She explains.

"One out of five follicles is asleep at any one time. So when I clear an area, a fifth of the hairs will regrow. Then a fifth of those will regrow. And so on. It can take two years, maybe more. You have to think about can you afford it, and can you stand it, and can you keep it up regular."

"Can we start right now?"

"Sure, suit y'self, hop on the table."

It becomes a routine. A friendship, even. I can afford one hour a week.

I walk through the orchard to the front door; raise the knocker twice. The young Golden, Bud, brings me his soggy tennis ball to throw as far down the slope, toward the pasture fence and loitering sheep, as I can.

The door opens, and I move to the table, chatting a little self-consciously, as my electrologist washes up.

“Further up,” she tells me, and I hunch my hips and shoulders to get the angle right. “You been doing good?”

She covers my eyes with small plastic blinders.

All right, I guess.

“You want to do that upper lip some more?”

Oh, god. I guess so.

“Well it’s your call, I dunno; that last time you got so shook you had us both crying.”

She says: “Ten hairs, on slow exhales.”

She has explained: more power, quickly applied, hurts more, but kills more hair roots, as less heat will travel up the needle.

It works well, I can tell, but I think it ages me a bit. Yes, well. We can only try.

She bends, in overalls and jeweler’s lenses, over my face, and as I count out breaths, I inhale the burning of the heretic women.

-- risa b

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