I purchased a wig.
I bought it for a roaring 20s dance, but I’ve become quite fond of it, and have been wearing it semi-constantly ever since. It’s an adorable brown bob, bangs and everything (I haven’t had bangs in a good six years).
I put it on, and examined the face in the mirror. The hair framing the face with the suddenly noticeable cheekbones, the cut accentuating the jawline. The bangs sweeping gently over one eyebrow. The face was experienced while still young, it was sophisticated, even striking. It was like there was a grown-up in the mirror. “Can I wear it out?” I asked.
I wore it not only out, but kept it on during the car ride. And into the grocery store. “I don’t have much cash on me,” my mom said, “here, let me give you what I’ve got, we just need some pizza for your brother and some Sprite and anything else you need.”
“No, it’s cool, I got it,” I said smoothly. “You can pay me back at the house. I got it.” “Well, if you’re sure – ” she still sounded doubtful, but I was out the door.
I walked into the store, briefly terrified that someone would notice that it was a wig. “Hey, that isn’t your hair!” They’d say. “You aren’t really an adult!” I was worried that I was that obvious, like a four-year-old walking around in her mother’s high heels. Buying groceries, in itself, does not an adult make. I thought of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, stocking up on food and about knee-high to a grasshopper, obviously not an adult even though he was acting like one. I remembered the check-out girl grilling him. What if the cashier saw right through my guise as a competent adult? “Where’s your mom, hon?” She’d say, just like she said to Macaulay.
But I calmed myself and filled my basket with pizza, diet Sprite, and tampons (party at my house). But surely the content of my basket didn’t matter. Because I had awesome hair.
I walked to the register, and held up my keyring to display my preferred shopper card (hoping the the cashier wouldn’t notice the telling lack of car keys on the ring).
“That’s $19.97.” I smoothly pulled a $20 out of my wallet. Yeah, that’s right. That’s me, with the hair and the keys, pulling moderately large denominations of bills out of my own wallet to pay for groceries. And then I left. The wig hadn’t fallen off my head, no one had called me on my adolescence.
I kept the wig on, even at the house. There’s something oddly attractive about becoming someone else. Someone sophisticated. Someone who can walk into a grocery store, pull a $20 out of her wallet, and buy groceries without her wig falling off.