The strange case of Meredith Oh

3am and someone is knocking at my door. Still between two worlds I don’t bother to leave the bed thinking that it is just a dream, an eco from a dream. Knowing no one in my building who could be knocking at my door? The knocking persisted and giving up my warm bed I walked slowly to the door:

Sorry to bother you miss. I am agent xx and this is detective yy, we need to ask you some questions about your neighbour Tennessee Brooks, his body is outside and we believe he just jumped from his balcony few minutes ago. Still not sure of what was happening I said I didn’t knew any Tennessee Brooks. But he left a note for you in a sticker on his fridge, said agent xx, see? and he shows me the note: K, high tea on Thursday, bring her a sample of balkan hair.

Meredith's hair, photo by poshdrosofila thibault

Meredith’s hair, photo by Poshdrosofila Thibault

I met Meredith on a awkward elevator moment at 6 am on may way to work. I was leaving home later on the past but my co workers would start so early that at 8h30am they were already having coffee break! Anyway, I was rushing my way out, pressing the “close door” button insistently so I could enjoy my last few minutes of loneliness before been throw to the world of small talks and fake smiles called work environment. And then a tall blond woman gets in my space, her face red and sweat, her make up melting, and she says it really fast like a kid on a urge to pee: I am Meredith Oh, your neighbour, hi.

She invited me for high tea the next week, which is another word for dinner, os light dinner if you wish. But with tea. Black most often. No lemons. Meredith was lovely, smart and funny yet with a sadness in her eyes that only now I can grasp an understanding. And she had this beautiful blond hair, flowing with her words and with her manners. She was so tall and so gracious that it made me happy to see her almost every morning on the elevator.

You have to stop plucking your browns she would yell from her bathroom. The secret is to fill it with a crayon instead, and then she would invade my Saturdays afternoons with butter cookies and make up lessons. I got addicted to mascaras and brown crayons and my face and hers on the mirror, asymmetrical but in harmony, we were friends I thought.

The hair was something I never really understood. For Meredith had amazing blond wavy hair, but it wasn’t really hers. You see Meredith suffered from a rare case of hypotrichosis – she had no hair whatsoever. She told me that in one of our high tea meetings where I would read her my short stories sipping jasmine tea, and she would compare it with some writer I never heard of… now that I think about it maybe the writer never existed. She was good at make believe.

We connected perhaps because we both felt outcasts, not belonging but trying really hard to.

I told all that to the cops over a cup of very strong coffee from Colombia that I had just bought. They listened carefully but didn’t take notes. The hair was from the balkans, that we all understood. That Meredith was Tennessee it made little sense. And that they died made no sense at all. At least not to me.

Why to end life – they asked me.

I would like to have answered: why to keep living?

It demands a lot of optimism, killing yourself expecting that it will be better than it is now. And keep on living, hoping that you can change what is to come.

K

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