I enter the large conference room, holding Kerry's elbow. High ceilings and bare floors amplify the sound of our students' voices as we find seats at the long folding tables. Most of our students are sitting at the table in front, so we choose seats behind them. For the next six hours, we will occupy cold, metal folding chairs - and mine makes an unnecessary amount of noise when I draw it away from the table. It scrapes along the floor, the sound intensified by the chair's hollow legs.
I stand here cutting as I dye, dyeing as I cut. My goddaughter Jade sits with her wheelchair tilted back, her head wedged between the arms of the salon sink as I circle behind her. Turning on the faucet and placing her head under the rush of warm water, rinsing Jade’s hair free of bleach, I hope she doesn’t hear us. Her mom Liz and I make small talk— bawdy talk of bodies and waking from daydreams too rough for her ears. It isn’t that she can’t understand the games people play when they no longer believe in love. The way Jade’s eyes catch light, never staying the same shade of green-flecked brown or brown-flecked green and their quick expressiveness let me know she understands too much about the aftermath of love.