I wish I could say I am a set of skis, but this is not the case. If I were a set of skis, I’d be flying down the mountain right now, powder billowing up around me in glittery fury. I’d be turning over moguls and clapping flakes off from the lift and racing my daughter’s skis down.
I’d be free.
But I am not a set of skis. I am a louse.
I am the louse found at the nape of my oldest’s neck, as pale brown as her hair, almost, almost invisible.
I am the louse that enters your classroom and tries for twenty minutes to think of positivity and negativity and mix it all together with nits for words in an online documentation that we all try to wash away with Nix.
I am the louse that enters your friendship, trying so hard to show you how genuinely I love you, laying my eggs in every place you thought you’d never find in hopes that with one, with just one minuscule combing, you’d choose to keep me there, tenacious and prolific and ever-loyal to the warmth of your scalp.
I am the louse that enters my classroom, sneaking between desks, reaching out with my frail antennae in the somewhat-silent attempt to encourage students to reach up, scratch, and move their eyes away from their phones and onto the idea, just the idea, that a good comb-through could bring them an education.
I am the louse hiding at the base of the bristle on the brush, in the stitches of the winter hood, in the soft cotton bedding bought from the bargain store. Waiting. Breathing in my twenty-four hours of life one solitary pull of oxygen at a time, hoping for a single strand to clasp, to scurry up, to hold on to until I reach the warmth of humanity, until I can rejuvenate my weakened heart with the blood of someone else’s life.
I am the louse of motherhood, the constant irritation of teen angst wishing to be rid of me, my frail footprints finding no real response to my desperate attempts to make a home on these humans’ hearts.
If I were a set of skis, I’d be flying across a Colorado bluebird day. Over mountain passes. Into a bowl so deep with powder you couldn’t find your tips.
But I am a louse. And lice don’t ski.