Some fifteen years ago, I wrote this mini-memoir while enrolled in the Utah Writing Project. A little concerned with the teacher’s requirements, I surprised myself and created one of the most descriptive pieces that I’ve ever written – well, at least I think so.
Bound in a blue plastic cape, the young captive blinked back tears as she sat motionless on the yellow, backless stool in the middle of the kitchen. Sections of her straight, mouse-brown hair wound tightly ‘round tiny pink rods. Masochistically, Torquemada yanked the remaining stubborn strands, encasing them in rectangles of tissue paper before winding them around the plastic bones. Arms folded and hunched forward, the little victim rocked back and forth awaiting stage two.
Drip. Drip. Drip. The slimy solution snaked its path down the trails of her scalp. Drip. Drip. Drip. It wormed its way into her ears’ canals, puddling in reservoirs against the dams of the drums. Drip. Drip. Drip. Stream after stream slithered into the crevice between her neck and the blue cape, saturating her sun-top and soaking her shoulders. Coupled with the deluge of the solution was its putrid stench that assaulted her nostrils and stung her eyes. Wincing, she instinctively flicked out her tongue to catch a stray drop and then gagged at the acrid bitterness of the intrusion.
“H O L D S T I L L,” warned the instigator of torture in deep, hollow tones as she tightly tied a perforated, plastic babushka around the prisoner’s wound and bound hair. “We are almost finished here.” But the girl knew it was a lie. Hours would pass before the rods were rinsed and removed.
Embarrassed by her torture-induced appearance, she spent the waiting hours in confinement, rocking back and forth, staring out the window. Suddenly, the young recluse spotted a familiar figure darting in and out of the willow tree’s branches. Sunlight captured the nymph’s golden curls as she danced around the trunk, innocently flaunting her freedom. As the prisoner glared at her sibling, self-pity turned to anger. Silently, she cursed the goddess of natural curls and the god of golden tresses, wondering why they could not have divvied up their treasures fairly. She did not desire all the bounties. Why if she had been in her greedy sister’s stead, she would have gladly forgone waves for amber or amber for waves.
Rocking back and forth, she sighed.
January 9, 2010 at 9:00 PM
Loved this piece. I so remember sitting in that girl’s place. My sister was getting a perm and it was the kind with electric rods attached to a huge hood. She was terrified and begin to cry. My mother told her to be still or
the cows would get her. (She was terrified of cows, too.) So she sat through it and at the end had a burn on her neck where one of the rods had loosened and sat against her neck burning her. Momma felt terrible, so did I, because Mars had been hurt and I was next.
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May 5, 2010 at 10:27 AM
I don’t know why I didn’t see the comment earlier! Thanks, Carol. I decided after writing about my most recent hair-raising experience – a good one, actually – that I should rename THIS piece “hair-i-tic!”
After reading this piece, my sister corrected me and said she suffered through her share of perms, but I sure don’t remember that!
Hope all is well with you, my friend. Renae
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