April 21, 2005

I've Faced Worse Before

I'd rub my eyes if I could. I'd cry if I could. I'd tear at my hair. I'd slap my cheeks. I'd pinch my nose. I'd do them all if only I could. But I can't. This morning my face fell off.

I'm not sure how my face (and scalp and ears) ended up a grisly puddle slumped in the bottom of my bathroom sink. How do any of life's mysteries happen? One day you're in the mood for a latte and instead you order a cappuccino. Mysterious. Today my face slid off of my skull.

Perhaps it was my Jergen's face wash? I bet it was expired. I've had that shit forever. My stylist Enrique gave it to me in October as part of a beauty care package. Maybe its all the stress I've been under lately. I've heard of people getting bald patches when things get hectic at work. But none of them have skulls for heads...

The noise was sickening. Sssllllluuuuuhhhhpop! The pop at the end was so crisp. Like a suction cup coming undone. And then - I looked down and there I was staring back at me. My left jaw still covered in shaving cream, my right so baby smooth and newly shaved. Wow, my eyes are really pretty. I stared back into the mirror. My throat ended in a tidy little nub and from there the pale vertebrae of my upper spine attached neatly to the blanched bones of my lower skull. My little black eye sockets stared back at me. Wow, my eye sockets are really huge.

My jaw chattered open and closed as I talked. Without lips my disembodied ... disemfaced? ... voice floated from an unknown source. I didn't have a tongue anymore either. I poked at my face sitting slumped in the sink with the end of my toothbrush but didn't see my tongue among the red lips and horribly blubberly looking jowls. I thought how disappointed my boyfriend Bryce would be now that I have no tongue. He so enjoys French kissing...

My second alarm beeped from my bedroom and I realized my face-off had set me terribly behind for work. How am I going to explain this to my co-workers? Expired facial creme? Stress? Rugby? YES! Rugby! I blame everything on my rugby participation. The rugby excuse helped explain last month's black eye.

Suddenly I missed my black eye. I missed my eyes.

After carefully choosing my nicest shirt and tie (I didn't want to show up to work with no face and a slouchy outfit), I took to the streets. My empty eye sockets scanned from side to side as a nun and three young Hispanic boys walked past me. I closed my eyes. No, I didn't. I. . . well it's weird. I swear it felt like I was closing my eyes, but . . . yeah, no eyelids. Anyways, I waited to hear their laughter, or screams, but nothing came.

Two strapping men on motorcycles idled by the curb. My little skull turned and smiled directly at them. The larger of the two, a glowering bruiser with a handlebar moustache replied, "Nice fucking tie nine-to-five!" His buddy laughed something about a noose and I saw a look of confusion on my skull in the reflection of his giant, mirrored sunglasses. I ran.

I ran to the subway station. With no muscle to support them, my teeth clattered together with each heavy step. People ignored me the entire way. Why was I in such a panic? Why did I care that people didn't notice my handicap? It didn't take two eyes to see that I had NO FUCKING FACE?! I was living proof of that fact!

I miss crying. I hid my grim visage behind a newspaper and quietly shuddered as my head went through the motions of crying, but without the tears and puffiness. Euripides wrote "Often a noble face hides filthy ways." Now my filthy ways were exposed to everyone around me! And worse of all, noone really noticed.

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