The Bigger the Hair the more I want You
Strawberry blonde. Fundamentally ginger in a certain light. Elbow length. A waterfall. Curls that easily wound tight around the fingers. Ringlets. Juliet Coleman. Fucking Juliet. Sweet and sugary, here on her European summer of self-discovery. American. Had “like never really been full on gay before, more just like messed around kissing girls in the locker rooms, you know?” Was young. Probably too young. Hair was wild. I mean WILD. Flicked out above her eyebrows in a cows lick she couldn’t flatten. Had a really tight pussy. Was a biter. Was beautiful. Was malevolent. Made me a fiend.
I maintain it began with HER. Before Juliet Coleman there were other girls. They came and went from East to West. Mayflies. Left no trace, no evidence, no shadow, no scratch. They’d try to put their claws in but nothing ever stuck. Until, nothing slid off so easily again.
Just like chill the fuck down. It became a catchphrase. In the most infuriating high pitched drawl from across the pond. Just like chill the fuck right down. Every word emphasized for added grating. And I couldn’t chill. Not after her. She stripped me of any capacity, any capability not to care. I remember when I saw her first. But then I had no idea. Something in the mane. The mop of locks and curls. The bigger the hair the more I want you.
The same letters were behind K’s voice. The same narrative, an identical story. You don’t have to do that. The same words were behind her shrinking lips. Just chill the fuck down. I’m trying, I wanted to say. I just can’t quite seem to do it.
William had arrived. He snapped me out of it. Forced my focus back. He was rocking uneasily. My bug pest of a little sibling. White and thin. We shared nothing really. Nothing I could see. No character traits. No bodily behaviors. Surprising. Doubtful, even, on paper that we would be related. Nothing in common past the immobile imbecile in the medical tent. I’d never understood why Ben had stayed friends with my brother. Our neighbor growing up. But Ben could hang about with anyone. He was good like that. Always bringing the party.
“Ben’s broken his leg or something.” I shrug. Look at my brother. Try to remember the last time I saw him. If his eyes look wider now. I wonder if Ben has finally rubbed off on him at all. “He’s paralysed, I dunno.”
“I dunno,” I say again. “Hey what’s up with you?” William is practically pirouetting. “You having a good time?” He nods. He does look different. “I saw Natalie,” I add, as a way to make conversation. “She came by our tents with Ben, said you guys are done or something?”
“Yeah,” he nods again. A nodding dog.
“Why the fuck is she here then?”
“We booked it when we were together.” But he’s smiling. The son of a bitch is amused. It makes me grin as well. Despite myself. I never liked that girl. She spoke too quietly. Was always trying to get on with our mum. Had this strange obsession with Yankee Candles.
“So, like, what you doing now?” I ask him.
“Like girls or?” He seems embarrassed. Not as much as he usually is though. And I’m thinking about Juliet Colman again. I’m thinking about K. I’m thinking about why I just can’t seem to chill anymore. Why it always has to be about the girls. In the end, it always is.
“Just been like hanging around with this girl I met here,” he shrugs it off, but I notice the way he can’t seem to hide his smile. “She’s been introducing me to new stuff, you know?”
He’s shy but I get it.
Yeah. I bet she has. But god doesn’t my brother need it. I give him a nod. I flick him a smirk. Maybe he’ll be okay. Maybe there is some hope for him yet.
“Katherine,” he says it like a spell.
The gateway drug. The one that sticks. His Juliet.
A crinkly faced woman emerges from the wrinkles of tent fabric behind us. Looks pained. Lines of irritation have bunched around her eyes.
“What an excessive amount of drugs,” she mutters.
I look behind her. Into the shade of the tent to visually high five my boy. To congratulate him on this time’s ‘excessive amount’. Then I see something I’ve never seen before. It looks like Ben is crying.