The Hat

Rachel Levy

It is his style to hide nothing (what I like about him), and I consider myself fortunate.

I speak with gusto. Not in public, of course, but during my lonelier hours. I find some joy in fervent repetition. 

I know him, and he is mine! I know him, and he is mine!


Which is why the appearance of the hat disturbs me.

Being honest, I must say it disturbs me to the core. I don't know how I acquired the phrase, but that's how I feel.

Thoroughly disturbed.

And what can I do? Grant no legitimacy to change? Become an old world monk—refuse a heliocentric universe?

No! I am a modern woman.


I call him to the kitchen. The light through the window is skittish.

I have already bathed myself completely. I have gone the distance—what phrases I acquire!—with respect to my grooming. When he arrives, I affectionately set my glass on the counter.

He is wearing oat-colored pajamas. He owns a second pair, a flannel pair for when it gets cold. Both pairs are oat-colored. I know this, and he knows I know this.

Once, half in jest, I proposed another color. The Macy's had fallen into an unusual state of disorder. Children darted in and out of the racks as if they possessed no sense of the law. There were three of them—blondes, punch-red rings round their lips. They could have been triplets. They could have been orphans. Their parents were nowhere to be found.

I snapped my fingers about his ears and his eyes to rescue his focus.

"Jonquil?" I asked. I pointed at a yellowish pair of pajamas.

"No thank you," he said, and I felt my small heart leap.

Being honest, I felt a warmth come over my loins.

"Don't you know me by now?" he asked.


Which is the problem: I need to know.

I smooth the collar of his pajamas.

My hands move to his neck—I give his neck a squeeze—and upward toward the hat on his head.

He stops my wrist.

"I bought it myself," he says.


No, no. The hat is stylish.

It's made of soft, blue felt. It has a narrow brim, a sharply indented crown.

The hat is glamorous!

It's the kind of hat a woman buys for a man, and the man wears it to appease her; maybe he wears it to please her.


I'll skip ahead to the sex. I am a modern woman.

I unbutton his pajama shirt. He helps with his pants, his underpants.

When I reach for the hat, he blocks my hand.

"Alright," I say. "Alright, my love."

The sun disappears. The clouds cast the kitchen in shade. The clouds move, collide, explode, and—hasn't the weather always failed to interest me?

I tend to my own undressing.


And it is only a hat. A hat!


When I take him, I mean to take all of him. Every inch, until he's no more.

Until there is only me.

I shut my eyes, pull him closer, and the hat, the hat, the hat, the hat, the hat, the hat, the hat, the hat—


I cry out my own name.