Daisy Bell never liked her name.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Then too often, in a sing-song:
“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer-”
All through grade school her peers didn’t know the song. It was always a parent or teacher who sang it to her. All the adults got a kick out of it, clapped her on the back, laughed and treated her like a special child. She didn’t feel special. The kids regarded her with distrust and disgust, like some sort of grammar school Uncle Tom. She was universally hated and all because of her name.
“Oh look. It’s Daisy.”
“Oh, Hi. What’s everyone doing?”
“Come on. Let’s get outta here. My mom sings to her.”
Throughout her childhood it made her forever the slightest bit sick to her stomach. She was skinny as a result. By high school she was as tall as her father. She was five foot eleven before graduation and had a radiant head of blonde hair, with a tick of red in it. So she kind of looked like a Daisy.
It lead to BDD. She was Charlotte’s last appointment before she set out in the Encore. Daisy was having a particularly difficult week and was not happy to hear that her appointment was cancelled.
“Where are you going?”
Charlotte lied to her and told her that the sudden departure was job related. That she had research to do for a book she was writing. That her editor had pushed up the delivery date. That she had to drop everything for the foreseeable future.
“You mean you’re not going to be here next week either?”
“Possibly longer. I can put you in touch with someone.”
“What other therapist? No one specializes in, ah, my condition, other than you.”
“I think you’re doing very well Daisy. You’ve been self-regulating for a while now correct?”
“A few months.”
“And how many years prior to that were you engaging in compulsive behavior?”
“Do we have to call it that?”
Daisy disliked therapists in general and Charlotte specifically.
Charlotte though had been the last in a very long string of them and was the only one who had gotten any lasting results.
“Yes, we do have to call it that.”
“Okay. Denial and all that. Fine. I understand.”
Daisy was blessed with an abundantly lush head of hair. This helped conceal her BDD because she had Trichotillomania, or a compulsive need to pick at, and pull out, her own hair. Everyone growing up just thought Daisy’s hair was much thinner than it actually was. That she was a meticulous groomer of eyebrows and that her arms were naturally hair-free. She had no noticeable bald-spots, so even Charlotte had to ask when she first began treatment if there were any compulsive behaviors she could think of. She said no at first, but the truth came out in the second session. Charlotte was fine with it.
“It’s expected Daisy. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Daisy hated Charlotte’s maternally-charged clichés.
She accepted them without protest now because Charlotte had made the picking and pulling stop where dozens of other therapists over twelve years had not. Daisy didn’t even believe that Charlotte liked her or regarded her anymore favorably than a waiter or dry cleaner. But distracted and possibly even uncaring as she might be, Charlotte helped. Daisy’s hair was as thick as it had ever been. Thicker actually. Bigger to a point where people who had known her for years asked what she had changed to get so much body.
“I started using horse shampoo.”
Not really. But the answer was just crazy enough to be taken as gospel.
A friend of hers even started shampooing with the stuff herself. Good old Mane and Tale. Daisy knew the stuff. Used the stuff. And it probably had helped a little all the years she’d been yanking it out.
“Where do you buy it?”
“You can get it at KMart.”
She never mentioned to anyone that it made your ears a bit fuzzy, and never told Charlotte that she still allowed herself to pluck those.
A few minutes after the phone cancellation from Charlotte Daisy went from mild anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. She even felt the return of her Trichotillomania. Those itching desires to tug and sort and pop out little bits of herself. No. She wanted to pull her whole head of hair out with both hands.
“Really. Take it easy.”
But, bitchy or not, Charlotte had done a good job. Daisy kept her hands from herself.
“Just breathe Daisy. Deep breaths.”
After a few yogic breaths her hair was safe. But not because she was rock solid. She was definitely more stable than she’d been in the past, but at the moment when the desire to separate and remove strands of hair hit its peak she stepped out of her apartment and saw something bizarre parked next to her car. And a strange package. And in a few moments there was the inevitable surprise of discovering that the 1982 Honda Civic hatchback parked behind her current car was in fact her past car. It was more than enough distraction to save her beautiful head of hair.