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Tuesday 200 - #18

Ever the director, he arranged a special wig. “Noir will be perfect,” he said. It was the final gift he could ask of her, the man she’d loved since she was a teenager.

She gently opened the antique box, uncovering a raven-black cascade, a dahlia clipped to its side. “Drama queen,” she smiled. Her hairpiece collection had been his doing. Until now they’d been red, fiery as autumn leaves.

She kept her promise not to cry, holding his hand while he swallowed the tablets. They shared a bottle of Bordeaux.

“Euthanasia as theater,” he whispered, eyes sparkling in a morphine haze.

She squeezed his hand and he slipped away.

Her mask of calm dissolved when she slipped off the wig. She bellowed into the tresses, stifling her screams with hair, choking on the rage of loss and unrequited love.

The next morning, she restyled the wig, swathed it in black tissue, hid it on a back shelf, and went back to the theater.

She mourns once yearly. Unwrapping the coiffin, the heavy grief compresses her scalp. His memory brushes her neck, where her cropped hair never reaches. She pulls a strand from her mouth, savoring the taste of her pain.

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