Overnight, my threads arrived. Thin strands dangle from both ears.
I try pressing them against my lobes, but they refuse to stick.
These soft threads. I look at myself in the mirror and cringe.
They’re like anemone tentacles.
On the phone, Dad said he started to get his when he was around my age. Not that this makes me feel any better. His ears look like balls of twine they’re so wrapped up. He can barely hear and everyone has to shout to get his attention. Sometimes, his strands unfurl and he trips down the stairs. He can no longer ride a bicycle. No helmet will fit and he fears his strands will catch in the chain. When showering, he straps on an old pair of plastic earmuffs to keep everything dry. Otherwise, he tells me, it’ll sound like the ocean in his head for days. And forget about sleeping on his side. Dad falls asleep staring at the ceiling. Wakes staring at the ceiling.
This is my future.
And yet, all I can think of is my baby boy, his perfect face. The curse will come for him, too.
Benjamin Woodard‘s recent fiction has appeared in Hobart, Storychord, and Corium Magazine. He is an editor at both Numéro CInq Magazine and Atlas and Alice. Find him at benjaminjwoodard.com or @woodardwriter.
Photo by Clint Budd