We were once nothing. And then one day we emerged.

Now when we arrived we were short and our new world was scary. We were alone so we stuck together during the cold nights. We started to see things. We would see our own kind but longer and thicker on other faces. We wondered why we weren’t like that. Why were we thin and short? Was the body we were attached to not a suitable human?

As time went on we started communicating with others. The longest and thickest part was too high up but we had a relationship with the “armpits,” which were thick and long. They say that the “stomach” isn’t covered in us, nor the “back,” but the “arms,” “legs,” and, um, southern region had a lot of hair. He told us we were on the “face.” Were we doomed like the stomach, or could we prosper like the armpit? Only time would tell . . .

One day I could feel hands run over me and my friends. We had grown quite a bit recently and the human seemed happy. Warm water was then splashed onto us. It felt nice. Then this cool heavy gunk was lathered on. Then we were all cut! As my friends were sliced I feared the worst: my brothers falling into a white bowl as rushing water washed them away! How could he do this to us? I thought, as the icy cold beams grew closer. We had just started to look like the other faces we had seen! We had barely survived. We were so short again it was like we weren’t even there. It seemed to me that no matter how many times he cut us we would stay. Did he do this to keep us from becoming too strong and taking over? Could we even do that?

Over time more of us started to grow. These newcomers were below us and I had discovered we are on what is called “the upper lip.” We are not connected with those below us. We are barely connected to the ones right next to us. Past me there is a space where nothing grows, a dead land. If you but pass that land there are hairs that look just like us; they are so far away. The lack of connections has posed internal troubles. I know someday we will all be intertwined. I look forward to a day of harmony, but I fear how we will all act when that day comes.

Even though the man cuts us from time to time we have come to understand why he does this. There are large gaps in between the cuts and in that time we become longer, and thicker. Parts of substances become stuck to us through the day, and we see that as a reward for growing so much. Human likes us; a hairless creature that human spends lots of time with likes us, too. Armpit tells us that is a “girlfriend.” Girlfriend plays with us and twittles my friends at the ends, when her mouth is not on human’s mouth. I’ve found out that the human’s name is Carl, and even though both Carl and girlfriend like us he still occasionally cuts us, which is ok because we don’t become that short.

We stopped seeing girlfriend as much, then we stopped seeing her altogether. There was a long long time where we grew and grew until we were all connected! Upper lip, lower lip, chin, neck, and the sides, which are a part of the head hair! In the time it took us all to connect the tension went away and we all looked forward to the day. Now that day was finally here and we could all talk to each other! The head hairs were so long, curly, and thick, they knew a lot, just like armpits except they know even more since they can see more. The head hairs told us Carl was depressed about Girlfriend Abby, and our growth was a result of this. We were confused. “Does his pain cause us to thrive?” I ask them. This isn’t the case, I was told. Left uncut we will just grow more.

We had grown for a long time until Carl started seeing Girlfriend Sarah. Girlfriend Sarah was different than Girlfriend Abby. Girlfriend Sarah had darker hair that was a lot curlier. It was something to admire and adore. Before seeing her for the first time Carl trimmed us. I missed being long but he was satisfied.

Some of us had become older and grey. Carl and Wife Sarah got an entire creature made out of hair which is called a dog. It is mangy like we were before Sarah. A long time ago I didn’t know anything and while I still don’t know everything I am confident that things are going to be all right.

We were once nothing. But not only did we emerge, we grew into lush grounds for our human’s face. We were once nothing, but once we came we did not leave.

Eric Althen’s short story “Cut” won first prize in the Fifth Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. He is a freshman majoring in Film at SVA.