by Bree Jo’ann
Isn’t it nice to have a body? To have the sun warm your shoulders? To have someone run their fingers through your hair? When I was a child, I was the baby doll of my peers. My hair was thick and longer than average. They would ask, “Are you mixed with Indian? Are you mixed with Mexican?” I would pretend to be annoyed when people asked to play with my hair, but I was always pleased, pleased to have the pleasure of my vanity, pleased to have my head gently touched.
It feels great to have a body, great to hear your own nails tap the cover of a book as you read the details on its back, to press your ear to your desk at the end of the day and hear an ocean of nothingness. Early in the morning, my husband strokes my hair and face and talks to me softly, and it’s nice to have a body.
It's nice when a quiet lady scrubs your feet with a sponge that’s just rough enough, and unseen nodes nestled in fake leather pummel your back . You space out, feeling that this is the appropriate time to let your guard down. Your thoughts are unspecific clouds caressing the inside of your skull.
Your feet are done. You sit down to have your nails done. The nail technician asks you what you want and you explain in detail. He charges you accordingly. He holds your hand at an odd angle, you shift in your seat to adjust your shoulder. He says, “Please be still.” You apologize and try your best to oblige. He starts to paint your nails the wrong way. You attempt to correct him. He begins another error. You pull your hands away and slowly explain your request again. He is annoyed, he says, “You want too much, you didn’t pay enough.” You tell him that you explained exactly what you wanted before you paid, the subtext being that it’s not your fault that he didn’t listen. He huffs and puffs behind his white paper mask. He grips your hand and starts to paint your nails with a tiny brush. He grips it with ferocity. You wonder what he must think your hand is, maybe a rodent. You try adjust your arm, he says, “Don’t move, girl.” You insist, forthwith, that you are a grown woman, not a girl. His eyes narrow with the fake smile unfolding under his mask, he says, “I’m sorry ma’am.” You settle back into the false leather office chair, trying to create some distance. A pale woman with a blonde ponytail is getting her feet done now. You are quite certain that she would not have been referred to as “Girl.” The manager notices the tension and comes over to ask if I’m getting my nails done for a special occasion. You smile and tell her that the nails are for your wedding. The entire shop coos congratulations in your direction. They are surprised and impressed that you are about to be owned.
It feels nice to be a ghost with a series of radio connections to a pound of flesh, feeling the molecules tingle in the air. Feels good to have your atoms vibrating at top speed, to know that we are all clouds of moving particles that somehow manage to avoid disintegrating. We’re lucky that our atoms don’t get bored or frustrated the way we sometimes do, that they’re really sticking it out.
You can't kill Bree Jo'ann, she's a rad wytch. She writes, draws and lives with her husband and son in Indianapolis, IN. She plays with robots and makes memes with teens for a living at the Indianapolis Public Library. She will be joining Butler's Creative Writing MFA program in the fall. Her book Black Glitter was published by Monster House Press. If you want a copy, email her at email@example.com. Find her on Twitter @how2baradwytch.