The Hot Summer
He was clean-shaven for a while. Character filtered down to the not so well-defined jaw line. Integrity had begun to rust in his razor. As the sun made his visits more frequent, the stubble woke up from its slumber. Donning a nonchalant face Mach ventured to a bar after months. The four-day beard came with its share of invitations. They came for Mr. Playful. He was going for Mr. Cool. Caught between acquired taste and required pleasure, he played the waiting game. Two weeks and nearly savaged, Mach took the swagger to the bar again. He wanted to be barbaric with that rebound someone. The head of the beer drowning deep in his nearly savaged look brought out the lifeguards to give some mouth to mouth. As he readied to go dirty, they mistook him for being gentlemanly. As acquired taste walked into the room, required pleasure took the long walk home. Six more weeks of waiting. By now macho, dirty, biker, metal head had all taken refuge in his beard. Twisting, twirling and wearing a sea of arrogance, he made a dramatic entrance at the bar again. Two weeks and nine women down, this was the road trip he was waiting for. The beard was at its all-time length. Just then a broad walked in with all the haughtier she could muster. One look and the heroic barbarian caved in. She had one advantage – She was hungrier. The beard fell short. She ate him like leftover meat. Devoured and wanting to be chewed off, Mach was losing his edge. The storm had taken the sun out. Sheepishly, the razor stepped out of the closet.

The Great Fall
Aristocracy was a class Mach had never been to. Struggling for status, he’d always been stuck somewhere in middle class. Wearing a thin line, he walked into a wine club in search for red. Outcast stared at him in the face. Fine locks of gold turned him down. In this heap of sour grapes, he walked out unfermented. Four weeks and a handlebar later, he walked into a library of stiff upper lips. This time around he wanted to read a dream. Flipping through thousands of pages, a pair of bespectacled beauty caught his eye on page 46. Brown hair swirled down to her shoulders. A dress that slipped down further. She looked expensive. Before she could turn this rag to riches, she quoted a price. Although the price was high, he felt cheap. Disgruntled, he dragged his pride out and walked down the road of shame. Cold feet and a joint later, Mach met the razor again.

The Long Winter
Long hair. The ultimate rock star. The heart-throb. The majestic lover. These were some of the things Mach had longed for. Three years. That’s what he had decided to give himself. He was in his early 40s. It was never or now. For a year he waited for his turn. To woo. To charm. To make love. To be loved. Adored. To be the one name they squealed. And when his day arrived, the day carried on for months. He was having whomsoever, wherever, however. He would turn them down. Turn them over. Turn them into whatever he wanted. And they happily obliged. As his hair continued to grow, so did the women. Mid-life crisis was a rented apartment he had long vacated. He went for golden locks. Brown flocks. Black beauties. Free flowing hair he loved. And made love to. By the time the third winter came along, he missed the chase. He wanted someone to make it tough for him. As snow trickled down from the heaven above, a guardian devil rose from hell below. Cai. That’s what they called her. Known to drink up many a soul, she was looking to quench her thirst by drinking away someone else’s. She was the skin of sin. From head to toe. Mach first caught her glance when she waltzed away through the sea of women around him. Mach’s throat went dry. She had that effect. Black eyes. Slender body. Big lips. Cai was an ideal to be strived towards. Sharp. Witty. Manipulative. And beautiful. For Mach, she was all the seasons behind him. She was the stiff upper-lipped. She was the lifeguard from the bar. That girl from the library. She was red. And white. She made the grapes sour. She was the two winters he had wasted. This was love the way he had never imagined. Uncompromising. Humiliating. Sacrificial goat-like. Cai was everything Mach was wanting in a woman. Everything Mach was wanting in himself. Twisted pleasures locked in a braid. Dark fantasies rolled in a bun. He left what was his for the taking and went after what could never be his – Cai. One hair swept back Thursday, she ripped his soul apart. Conversation. Books. Sex. Alcohol. And a razor. She snatched his happiness. Took those golden brown locks of his and fed it to her cat. Seventeen nights later, satiated, she moved on.

The New Spring
The fifth spring was here with the sun rising high. Mach was wearing make-up and a wig rolled back in a bun. He opened his dresser to look for different shades of pink. He went for Coral. Kissing the mirror, he winked and stepped out of his apartment. His customer was late. He looked in his pocket mirror one last time. As the car arrived, lusty eyes looked back at him from the window. Leaning towards the window, Mach went, “Hi, I’m Cai. And I’m about to turn your world upside down”.


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