Did I ever tell you about the very first time I went shopping bald? I lost my hair about 3 weeks into my cancer treatments. I could never imagine going out in public bald. I bought all kinds of head coverings so I could pretend to the world that nothing unusual was going on with me. Even driving my car for the first time with a cap on made me feel naked to the world — it was as though I was wearing a sign around my neck screaming “I HAVE CANCER!”. Cancer could no longer be my private hell. I was forced to publicize this very personal experience.
About a month after I lost my hair, I walked into a grocery store to do some shopping. I didn’t want to do it, oh I didn’t want to do it so badly. But I knew that I must force myself out of the house and into the world.
All activity in the store suddenly froze as I entered. Even children stopped their playing to stare. I pretended not to notice, but shame rose to my face. I felt as though all eyes were turned on me.
I quickly grabbed some things and took them to the cashier.
As if I hadn’t had enough humiliation already, even the cashier was staring at me. By this time my shame was replaced with anger. I was so angry that I glared past him. I wouldn’t even give him the pleasure of making eye contact with me. I’d be stoic. He kept staring.
Finally, after a few moments of silence, he said something incomprehensible and I turned to him, lips pursed, my face red. It was only then that I realized that he was deaf and trying to read my lips. I went home and laughed at myself. You can never judge people by their surface. We all have our stories. That’s when I stopped being ashamed of being bald.
Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.
What a Twist!