"Oh, ouch. Ouch ouch ouch!"
I stood there, staring into the fogged-up vanity mirror. A razor in one hand, holding up a bath towel with the other, trying to peer through the fog and assess the extent of the damage.
It was impossible, though. Irritably, I threw down the razor and snatched off a piece of toilet paper from the roll. Folded it in half. Applied it to the head. Wait for the the fog to clear.
It was evident in a matter of seconds: a bloody red stain forming in the center of the white tissue, quickly growing in size.
Dammit! "Corb, come here!"
A call from the other room: "What?" In my mind, I could see him, sitting in his favorite chair in the living room, talking to his friends on his favorite online chat site.
"Get over here this instant!" And then, putting on my best Camille. "I'm dying..."
"What, again?" Deep sigh. A groan from the chair as he rises from him it. Then Corb, at the bathroom door. "How are you dying this time?"
"Look." I point to the top of my head, covered in shaving cream, toilet paper, and blood. "I cut myself because I couldn't see a thing in the mirror. Cut myself pretty badly, too. Can you check it out for me?"
Corb sighed. "Bend down." I moved toward him, my head bowed. "Ohhhh...I think I see brain..."
"Corbett!" I snatch my head away from him, back away. "Don't joke like that. How about if my beautiful head is permanently disfigured?"
"I don't know..." Suddenly, a thought. A smile lights up his face. "We'll get you a pretty pink ski cap!"
I frown. "Just get me a band-aid, would you? Ohhhh, this is going to be bleeding for a while...and I have that lunch with Sweet Loretta today at four...how am I going to go there, horribly disfigured like this?"
"Well, we could bandage you up like the Invisible Man..." Corb opened up the medicine cabinet and took out a box of bandaids. "But I don't think we'll need to do that...let me just squeeze some antibiotic onto the gaping wound..."
"I don't need that!"
"Relax, it'll help prevent rabies. Now, one band-aid here...and another band-aid here...and now one more band-aid..."
"Three band-aids?" I frowned and stared at myself in the mirror. "I really am going to look like the invisible man."
"Relax," said Corb, admiring his handiwork in the mirror. "You can take it off in a few hours, and no one will even know anything happened."
It wasn't until about five minutes before my visit that I remembered the band-aids. "Oh no," I said, turning to Ashes, who sat next to me in the Stang, secretly fuming about why she wasn't being allowed to drive. "I forgot all about my band-aid!" I glanced into the rea-view mirror. "Is it really noticeable?"
Ashes looked at the band-aid and wrinkled her nose. "Well..."
"Corb said I could take it off in a few hours..." Cautiously, I lift up the edge of the band-aid and start to pull. I take my eyes away from the road to glance into the rear-view mirror again. "Oh, ick."
It was only a glance, but I looked hideous! All I could see were pieces of skin resting underneath the band-aid. "Ashes, do you see..."
Ashes made a face. "Keep the band-aid on, Dad."
Well, it wasn't my first choice, but given what lay beneath, there was no way I was going to expose my pate to Sweet Loretta and the Lady Writers. How anyone could eat Thai food and stare across the table at my gaping wound was beyond me.
All of a sudden, a pretty pink ski cap seemed like a damn good option.
"Corb," I said, as soon I returned home, approaching him at his favorite chair, where he was still busy, typing away on his friends. "It's worse than we thought."
Corb looked up and wiggled his toes. His big feet were resting up against the coffee table. "What do you mean?"
"My cut," I said, barely able to hide my anguish. "I lifted up the band-aid before we went into the Thai restaurant, and it looks awful. It's all surrounded by this flaky white skin...I think I'm going to have to keep the band-aid on for a while. And I have a feeling it's going to scar."
"Really?" Corb frowned. "That's weird. Take off the band-aid for moment."
Dramatically, I heaved a sigh and lifted my arm up to pull back the band-aid and reveal my horrible disfigurement. I lowered my head, so that Corb could take a look at the extent of my injury and closed my eyes.
Suddenly, I heard a familiar snort of laughter. I opened my eyes, looked at Corb in surprise. "Why are you laughing?"
"When did you look at your injury?" he asked, still laughing.
"In the car, as I was driving...from the rear-view mirror. Why?"
"That's not scraped-off skin, you moron. It's just the antiobiotic. You needed to wipe it off! Your head is fine."
It was? Quickly, I ran into the bathroom and stared into the mirror. Grabbed a napkin and wiped away. Sure enough, my beautiful baldness was back.
Corb's laugher echoed through the apartment. "What did you think? You really were seeing brain?"
Oh, dammit. Ouch, ouch, ouch. That's the pain ouching from my wounded pride, in case you didn't recognize it.
For the record, the razor burn still kind of hurts, even now...
The price one pays for beauty.