Like running a comb through her hair to make a parting, she slices her scalp with the blade. Peeling back three maybe four layers, she finds a silken sheen of hair grown underneath in the darkness. Stripping the skin from her face, she looks in the mirror, waiting for the milky shadows to turn sharp. Her cheeks are pale and her chin bone juts beneath the translucent covering. She tugs the collar of flesh and the seam over her ribs springs open. Her arms escape from the sleeves and she inspects the pads of her fingertips, pink and furrowed as if she’s been in a hot bath. She wriggles her hips, pulls up her knees and steps from the skin left crumpled on the floor like dirty clothing. By shedding her skin she’s released from shame and the anchors of regret. She’s freed from all the things she wished she’d never done. Today her name is Hope.