Carla Shaves her Head | A Short Story by Myriam Rizkallah

Saturday September 5, 2020
By: Myriam Rizkallah

Her cell phone rings. His name flashes on the screen. She answers enthusiastically, but instead of his voice, she hears a bitter grudgy woman yelling, “What do you want from my husband?”

Her enthusiasm turns into crude coldness.

“… He told me all about you!” She’s not terrified. She’s not the least surprised. She’s hypnotizingly numb; as if she anticipated this call, as if it was the answer to her secret prayers.

“… He told me you are chasing him everywhere and he asked you over and over to stop calling him.”Her mind commends her to speak but her lips stay sealed. “What’s the point of talking to this delusional woman. She thinks he loves her, she thinks she’s protecting her marriage. How can she be so blind?!”

“… Of course you have nothing to say. You should be ashamed of yourself.” She remains silent as steel. “Why should I be ashamed? I love him and he loves me. You are the one who should be ashamed of your self- inflicted humiliation. You have no self respect. You accept to live a lie instead of facing the truth.”“… It’s not that I care to hear your defense. I am just calling to tell you, we don’t want you to call this number again!”

End of connection.

“We? This is ridiculous. He would never deny his love to me. He told me if it was up to him, he would end his marriage and marry me; the only thing holding him back is he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. No, he would never say such lies.”

A voice comes from outside her room.“Don’t forget to take your pills before you sleep, Carla.”

“Ok mom”, Carla mumbles repugnantly. She glances resentfully at her medicines piled on the side table, then turns the light off without touching them and slides into bed. She tries to sleep, but the peace and quiet of her room crumble at the feet of her amplifying racing thoughts. She flips and tosses in bed for a few hours. Twirling feelings mixed with looping thoughts keep building inside of her, increasingly warming both her body and head.

She throws the cover away and walks barefoot on the floor hoping it would cool her down. She opens the window for fresh air and meets the full moon instead. She stares at the glowing silvery circle for a long time. It induces her gizmos with bewitching cosmic waves.

Her skin develops a sudden hostile reaction to her pajamas. She hastily takes her clothes off and carelessly wraps the bed sheet around her body. She moves back and forth like a wired rat. Now her head is boiling. And in a desperate attempt to deliver herself from this rising foaming lava that is eating her, an idea pops into her mind, “I am going to shave my head.”

She bursts out of her room and heads to the bathroom. She opens the cabinet and looks for her brother’s razor, with no success. She hears her mother’s voice from across the corridor, “What’s that noise?”

“It’s nothing, nothing! Go back to sleep mom!”

As she returns to her room, the shaving idea is already dimmed leaving the stage for a bolder one: “I will confront him with what she said! I will confront them both!”

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