Why do you have short hair?

Sage Tyrtle
I’m on the subway and a four year old girl sitting next to her dad calls over to me. “Hi, why do you have short hair?”

“I like it,” I say. “I cut it this way because I like it.”

“YOU cut it?” she says, her eyes wide.

“Yup, all the time. Do you have long hair, or short hair?”

She takes her hat off. Her hair is very short.

“I love it!” I say. “We are hair twins!”

“My grandma had to cut it all off,” she says, “Because of bugs.”

“Well, *I* think it looks wonderful,” I say.

She suddenly smiles, her face transformed, and then the subway pulls into her stop and she hollers, “Goodbye!” as she and her dad go out the door.

And all the way home I think about drops of water. Wearing away at a stone. That little girl, embarrassed by her short hair, wearing her hat and then realizing – it’s beautiful. It’s goddamn beautiful.