Daddy Did My Hair

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Momma’s taking a break, he said.

What’s a break, I said.

When Momma has a rest, he said.

Who’s going to do my hair, I said.

I will do your hair, he said.

You can’t do my hair, I said.

Why can’t I do your hair, he said.

Only Momma can do my hair, I said.

We will see tomorrow, he said.

 

It’s tomorrow today

 

Not that brush, the green brush, I said.

What’s the difference, he said.

That brush sticks like hedgehogs, I said.

Momma uses the green brush, he said.

And the apple smelly stuff, I said.

Then I’m going to use those, he said.

Until momma comes home, I said.

Till Momma comes home, he said.

 

It’s tomorrow today.

 

Yesterday my hair was wobbly, I said.

Why was it wobbly, he said.

The bobbles were too loose, I said.

I will tighten them, he said.

Make them straight, I said.

I will straighten them too, he said.

Until Momma comes home, I said.

Till Momma comes home, he said.

 

It’s tomorrow today.

 

Momma’s finished with her rest soon, I said.

Momma’s resting for a long time, he said.

Will she do my hair again, I said.

No, she won’t, he said.

Who will do my hair, I said.

I will do your hair, Daddy said.

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To The Castle

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Here is the great hall

Flip-top address book

Put together again vase (the princesses flew airplanes)

Boiler-creature closet

Mirror for looking at your feet

 

Here is the drawing room

Dogs that play poker

Clock with flower tick-tockers

Little porcelain people who never move. They laugh at the metal swingers because they keep swinging

Cold sofas

Photographs of people who frequent the kitchen

Mirrors for looking at the times

 

Here is the grand staircase

Closed to the public

…sometimes the glass marbles tumble down

 

Here is the bathroom

Toilet rolls wearing dresses and bodies

Lady pig with cigarette smiling down from her toilet seat. Being judgey.

Decorative toilet humour about erections (the princesses did not understand, initially)

Avoid the mirror. Bad lighting

 

Here is the kitchen

Mind the beaded door curtain. The clacking sound will call forth the guards.

Cupboard of things never looked upon again (Campbells Soup playing cards)

Thermometer pig with a chef hat. Never cold in here

Oubliette where treats go in, but never come out

Fine cereal bowls featuring Tony the Tiger and Snap, Crackle, and Pop

Grand table, now Queen’s office, bouquet garden, candle house

Throne masquerading as ordinary dining chair

Fruit bowl. The Queen has an excellent arm.

No mirrors for looking. Only cloudy eyes.

Ariane and the Acorn

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Ariane’s strange obsession began, like most things with her, as a question.
“Why do acorns wear hats?” Her parents exchanged thinking faces. Slightly worried faces because they had no answer.
“Because,” her father said after much thinking, “…all acorns keep a secret under their hat.”
“Why under their hat?” she asked, still staring at the acorn.
“Because they don’t have pockets,” her mother replied quickly. This puzzled Ariane. This puzzled her very much so. So much she could not think of another question. It puzzled her for the rest of the day. It puzzled her for the rest of the night. While she puzzled, she tried to take off the acorn’s hat. She tugged at the acorn. She knocked on the acorn. She glared and grimaced at the acorn. When it wouldn’t budge, Ariane went into the woods again to find an acorn she could open. But there were none. Their caps were on very, very tight.
“Well how do you get their hats off?” she asked, very tired from all her trying.
“The secret pops out like a surprise”
“How?”
“I’m sure magical words have something to do with it”
Naturally, Ariane asked what the special words were, but her parents didn’t know. So she was sitting on a large rock outside her house one day, reciting words she thought were magical like “please, twinkle, twinkle, and banana” when a girl Ariane had never seen before walked by and stopped.

The Grumblewitch

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It is often said that witches hate children. But it’s not true. It’s not true at all. In fact, I knew a boy who knew a boy who knew a boy who befriended a witch, and she loved him dearly.

Her eyes twinkled like an invitation. Her smile swept away all sadness and gloom. The boy and his friends followed her around like ducklings and called her their in-between witch, for she was neither good nor bad. Well, she was good-natured, but very bad at spells.

She would cast a spell for a cat, and find a dog meowing in her ear. What should have been yellow would turn out green. What should have been large would shrink to the size of a flea.

The grownups thought her a great joke; the witch without magic. But her failed spells and diamond eyes made her lovely to the children, and their cupcake grins and clumsy limbs made them lovely to the in-between witch.

There was, however, something very odd about her. Whenever she was around, wherever she went, a noise would follow. A low grumble, grumble, grumbling. Deep within her belly a steady mumble, mumble, mumbling.

Every day, the in-between witch was flocked by children and amidst the sparkly eyes and cupcake grins, the grumbles would grumble, the mumbles would mumble, and the watchers would whisper, “The Grumblewitch, the Grumblewitch, the Grumblewitch….”

The Grey Day

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Part of a submission for my creative writing program.

Maybe I did it. I wish today wasn’t grey. I wish it was yesterday.

“I spoke to your teacher today,” she said, running her finger along my nose. I used to get stories before bed. Now she just pulls blankets to my chin and rubs my nose. And she stares for a while.

“Tell me about the water, bumblebee.” I miss the stories. She was really good at voices. I think the water took the voices away. “She said you’ve been talking about it like it’s a monster.” It is. I stopped playing hopscotch with them. There’s so many of them and they’re always here. And they creep around like creeping things.

“I don’t want them here anymore,” I said. “They scare me.”

“Don’t want what here? Water?”

“The puddles. I don’t want the puddles here anymore.”

“There aren’t any puddles, bumblebee. They’re not going to hurt you.” I didn’t know how to explain it to her. But then she bent down to kiss my head and kept it there for so long I thought she knew what I meant. She just didn’t want to talk to me about it like she didn’t want to talk to me about why people kiss with their eyes closed.

“Will I see you in the morning?” She takes baths after my bedtime. I think it’s because I keep knocking. I worry.

“Of course you will,” she said. “Don’t be silly.” I looked at her a little brave, a little terrified.

 

Wax Bloom

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Last year, I submitted a story I’d written when I was 18 (lots of years ago, don’t be nosey) to the Brighton prize short story competition. I didn’t win (ahhhhhhh), but I was shortlisted (hooraaaay). The following is an excerpt:

I wonder if I stare at these cracks long enough, will they open up and cough out
plasterboard and pipework over me. Then I wouldn’t need an excuse for this graceless,
crumpled position. For the metallic drip trickling down my throat or the colours already
appearing on my arms. I bruise so easily.

A simple squeeze.

A quick pinch.

I should be stronger, more durable than this. I trace my own outline on the ceiling like
chalk around a body, longing for my pastels so I can transfer all of this somewhere else. My
paper skin thins with every stroke, each one soaking through to the bone. One of these angry
mornings, I’ll just crumble away. Not ancient and fragile. Just weary and overly used.

The full short story is part of the Rattle Tales anthology

Pieces

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Piece of an unfinished story

I was a girl, curious as a cat, who strayed from mother and father. I strayed for minutes and
hours until I was lost. I searched for hours and days for the way home. I cried for days and months because there was no way back. I cried so much I cried a hole in the
ground. I sobbed so long my tears filled it to flooding and when the last one dropped, I dropped with it and
sunk to the bottom.

Duty-bound

So I’ve done the dutiful daughter thing and along with creating a new blog for myself, I created one for my mom: Aroma Notes. In my weird and wacky mind, I thought a labor of love for her might entice me to stay up to date with my own blog. Don’t ask me how that works, but I’m hoping it does cuz I’ll be doing all the writing on her blog as she’s not so internet chatty inclined. Surely that would translate to my doing some writing here.

Surely.