‘I can’t believe your hair is like this. Don’t you even care about looking pretty?’
it’s morning again, a school day. mirror shows us, angled against each other. her hands tangle in my hair. i am hands braced into the counter, head on fire. i am not crying.
i am not crying.
‘You’re just like an animal, filthy. Look at your hair. People will think I don’t take care of you.’
instead of breakfast, she is trying to make me pretty.
‘I’ll teach you to care about your appearance.’
lark’s hair lays smooth and careful, nice neat waves against her cheeks. she’s looking down. alder’s hair lays nicely back away from her smile. they are so pretty, and i am learning my lesson.
scissors flash, snip snip, one two three. all my thoughts rain down, dark and turned inside out. she says g-d sees our thoughts, and knows our secrets. mine are filled with shadows. i hope no one reads them. i always hope g-d won’t be looking, but i know he sees.
and now they’re falling all around me.
‘There, now your hair won’t be tangled anymore. Say ‘Thank you, Mom’.’
i stare back at mirror, there are two faces staring back. her hands press me into being. we are still, reflected truths and secrets.
‘Mirrors never lie,’ she says that all the time too.
and it’s not lying now, all the curling wild mess around my head is gone. no more secrets, no more lying. now everyone will know what i am.
‘thank you, mom.’
‘You look like a grim little dog. I wish you’d smile more.’
air is cool on my neck, maybe now my prayers will be clean. maybe now they’ll fly up to heaven. maybe now g-d will make me happy.
‘Stop crying. Smile.’