I noticed an old woman in the Amarillo bus station who appeared to have her grey hair neatly pinned into a large bun on the side of her head. We smiled at each other, and she shuffled across the room to talk, briefly cutting through the anonymity,loneliness and fear of a bus station in late evening. I was glad for a companion with whom to await my bus to Portales.

My eighteen year old heart panicked when I realized she actually seemed to live at the bus station, and she also seemed a bit loony. Her loose, old fashioned “dressy” dress was threadbare, her teeth sparse. The net pinned to the side of her head was filled with all the hair she’d pulled from her hairbrush every day for years. One must be careful, she said. Some evil person could use even the smallest bit of your hair to curse you.

I was relieved she did not get on the bus to Portales. It was clear she was not catching any bus going anywhere, but I am certain she stole a strand of my hair, because for all these forty four years she has traveled in the recesses of my mind, popping up at odd moments like this very morning when I cleaned my hairbrush and threw the fuzz into my trash can…

cursed, or blessed, to remember her…


rJo Herman

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