“Just a Little Fever”
by Sheila Heti
from the April 18, 2022 issue of The New Yorker

This week’s story is Sheila Heti’s “Just a Little Fever.” I know that I’ve read a story by Heti before, but it was a long time ago and, though I have a copy of her latest, Pure Colour, I have not been keeping up with the rest of her work.

Consequently, this opening surprised me, and I don’t know what she’s up to at all!

She was shampooing her hair with cherries. It was entirely her idea to do it—she hadn’t read about it anywhere. She had taken the little cellophane sack of cherries out of her bag and put the cherries in a wooden bowl and pounded them down with a flat, broad spoon, drawing out the pits with her fingers, then she had slipped into the shower and put the whole mess on her head and shampooed it in with a little bit of moisture. This was her way of treating herself, since only the moon seemed to be on her side, shining down silver on her coat that night. After she rinsed out her hair, it was pink and smelled like cherries. She went to bed with it wet like that, and when she woke up it looked like her head had bled in the night. She put the pillowcase in the sink with a bit of soap and left for her day in the world, the sun shining down on her, creating a golden armor that coated her body entirely.

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