From Glitter to Vicodin

“Do you notice that the hairs on your arm are all bleached from the chlorine?”

PP sinks into the hiding tub bubbles. This is gonna be good. She can tell. And today, she’s just gonna eavesdrop since her energy level is so low. But more on that later.

Or not.

Bleached Arm Hair Woman nods to her companion, who eyes her politely from under her Red Bandanna. ‘No, can’t say as I have noticed that particular phenomenon.”

BAHW chuckles, “I always have been hairy. My family is all hairy. Hairy runs in the family. But it’s always been dark hair. This hair….” She holds out her arm above the bubbling water, shoving it in Red Bandanna Woman’s face, who glances at it for a moment, then smiles. Gently.

Then, nodding, she raises her own arm and looks it up and down. “I’ve always had light hair. Now particularly that I’ve gone gray.”

They both laugh, PP grinning silently to herself in the corner of the tub. Gray hair. Don’t even get her started on that one. Everyone always says that she doesn’t have any gray hair. But she does. It’s just that the blonde kinda covers it up. Esp. when she does her clip head on top of the gray mass.

“It kinda looks like glitter in the sunlight…..” BAHW murmurs in awed reverence as she pulls her arm back to her own side, still gazing at it in wonder. Not that there’s any sun here in the dungeon of the YMCA, but that glittered chlorine effect—it’s a Phenomenon.

“And I can’t take any kind of drug.” Somehow BAHW has moved on to pharmaceuticals. PP doesn’t know how she’s made this segue, but has eavesdropped on enough conversations to know that dialogue is rarely linear and often full of non-sequitors.
“….I can’t take morphine when I’m in the hospital. Or the anesthesia makes me sick. And then they always wanna give me Vicadon, but that makes me throw up something awful.”

RBW nods sympathetically. Here PP is sorely tempted to join in on the conversation
since she also has the insanely high sensitivity to any drug, esp. Vicadon.

But today, she’s just not in the mood. Her neck hurts something awful. And her spirits always suffer from this chronic pain. It’s not like she’s debilitated or anything. Hell, she doesn’t even have any problems really. It’s not like she’s a Cyclone victim in Burma or and Earthquake victim in China, or even a tornado victim in Oklahoma. All of these natural disasters are adding to PP’s distress. She can’t really explain why. She doesn’t know anyone in any of these faraway places. It’s just that, lately, the Woes of the World are snaking into her consciousness.

The YMCA helps. It’s such a soap opera and this is a fine distraction.

Yet, PP wonders what will become of them all? Will Nature take its vengeance on humankind at last for all the hellish demolitions they’ve caused in their never-ending selfishness? (Yes, PP realizes this is a little heavy-handed, but she’s in a Mood today!)

“You have yourself a Blessed One, is all I can ever say!” RBW heaves her gray body out of the tub and waddles slowly across the room to the showers.

BAHW sits wistfully, staring into space; the empty space left by RBW looms large. PP often feels like she at least needs to smile or make eye contact when it’s only 2 women in the tub. But not today. Today she just sighs, trying not to think of the Drought or Sudan as she stuffs her gray/blonde hair into her cap and heads out to the pool.

At least she glitters, she thinks to herself.

No not really. She didn’t think that at all. She only thinks of it now, after one of the cute kids in the First Wave swim team hollered “Hello Lady!” at her; she finished her velvety blissful swim without crashing into Muscled Jogging Man; and she’s home now, drinking tea, writing a story, and feeling very very blessed.

That’s all she can ever say!


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