I’m staying at my mom’s house tonight, and so am using my old bathroom and bedroom. In the shower, she still has two of the bottles (for there were many) of shampoo and conditioner that I had used in high school. They are from two different sets of shampoo and conditioner, and so they have different scents, but they both take me back.
As I use the shampoo, I remember those 5:20am showers, being barely able to move or see, yet chugging along anyway, so I could get to band on time…, never fully waking up until band practice had been going for at least a little while. I remember my boyfriend from my senior year… the time we went to see the bats on Waugh Street bridge, and he guessed correctly the brand of my shampoo and conditioner (Herbal Essences)… how he was terrified that I might fall, and grabbed me when I leaned over the edge of the bridge to see the cars below (as if)… how we always did things together with my mom (that occasion included)…
And then I move to the conditioner, which seems to have lost most of its conditioning power in these many years of sitting there. The same sorts of memories stay in my mind, but then one striking memory produces, and adds itself to the mental exercise. I recall the morning of my hair surprise. As I was rubbing the shampoo into my hair, I discovered what felt to be part of a pine needle, or else one of those brown cocoon-looking things that fall from trees and remind me of cattails crossed with pine cones and a thick worm. “Really?!” I thought.
I had been lying down in and rolling around in the yard the night before, and apparently hadn’t even noticed that I had gottten some of these guys in my hair. I slept with that in my hair. How bad is that?
So, I grabbed the twig thing to toss it out the window (which was closed at the time). As I was starting to pull it from my hair, being careful not to have it fall apart into my hair, I noticed a sort of burning sensation in the joint of my first finger. As I brought my hand down from my head, twig thing in-hand, I began to panic. I flung it to the ground in the shower, and began shaking my poor hand that had been holding it. I might even have shouted, or even begun to cry loudly. I vaguely remember my mom coming in to check what was wrong as I was crying in the shower…
“What is it??”
“I just…[sob] got stung…[sob] by a wasp.”
“It was in my hair… and I grabbed it… and it stung me.” The sobbing continued, I believe.
It wasn’t that I was in extreme pain, so much as that I was extremely surprised. First, I had been surprised at my having left tree stuff in my hair from the night before, rolling in the grass. And then, I found out that a wasp had somehow gotten in through the closed window, landed on me as I rubbed in my shampoo, and then stung me as I removed what I thought was a stick or pine needle or pod thing.
Perhaps that’s why I left this conditioner here so many years ago.