These roots are well-traveled. Find them on bathroom floors and curled against the upward slope of staircases. I have detached many threads on ferry trips and early morning commute subway rides. When the man beside me creates musical interlude of keratin clip from fingernails, I rip knots out of scalp and drop my own acquired and collected bits of fibrous proteins.
I like your hair.
It was once less cherry. It was not always bloodied and bright. It used to be lighter. It used to be feminine and fair. The curls were once more potent. It did not always have its own calling card. There was a time I introduced other rainbows into it such as blues and purples. There was a pink period. Brief stage of orange. Do not forget the burgundy. It has never been all black. There was that time I shaved it all away.
Can I touch it?
A lover rubbed my pieces together between her wide, musical palms and traveled twists into my hair. She summoned the bees and borrowed teaspoons of wax to keep it all together. These dreadlocks still remain and some have birthed new ones. I visit them on evenings when my fingers are bored and looking to explore old textures. They feel like rope or scratches. They remind me of maps, encompassing moments and detours.
Is that your real hair color?
I once fell in love with a human because of their hair. It was the puff of brown smoke emitting off large scalp that first wooed me. Then words and the music which followed. My hands would get lost in the thick, brown aroma of meals migrating. Another human lured me in with spiked mohawk. Died black then red and climbing in varied heights and shapes. There is something so romantic about texture. The culture or religion of hair. Prayers caught up in each flake of dandruff or underscore. One lover had a patch of grey competing with earthy brown. Another preferred to bleach.
All of this is borrowed. The color (from a tube and bottle). The length (from time and persistence). The curls (from the ones that came before the ones I met). It is political and personal. My hair is mismatched and much of it derives from lack of attention and planning. Combs are a foreign object and coconut oil has become like air breathing its way into each split end.
Yes. This is my real hair color. If real means born from yesterday and the many days before it. If real means what feels best to me. If real means what makes me feel most alive. All of this is dead past the roots, so why not experiment. So why not question what it can do. So why not explore the lineage of its flexibility. Why not.