Thursday, November 30, 2000
Oh she's glamorous. She's standing behind the counter of the Crypt
Charity Shop talking cancer with two old ladies in glasses and padded
anoraks. She has a swathe of blonde hair swept up in an elaborate
system of clips and rolls, and pink lips the colour of the tips of
daisy petals. I pretend to be looking at the golden necklaces which
only cost 25p each, twirling the stand so the necklaces splay out
a little, kneeling down to try on a gold and green plastic bangle,
sticking my arm out in front of the mirror. I've heard this conversation
a thousand times in charity shops.
'She had the operation... ooh I know... she don't look bad... yes
but I heard.... no cards, no cards at all, and her son didn't visit
I straighten up and pick up an ornament obviously made by a small
child. It's in the shape of a dinasour, and it's made from tiny shells.
The shells that make up the ridge along its back have been painted
with fluorescent pink and orange paint. As the glamorous lady talks,
her ponytail bounces. Actually it's not really a ponytail, more a
Brigitte Bardot bouffant, as though the hair has been collected and
held in a bunch above the head, then the elastic band has been slipped
on loosely, very loosely, and the whole affair's been allowed to fall
just so, then fixed in place with Elnette. It looks soft but is perhaps
slightly granular, like cotton candy.
The way the hair of others feels against their heads is not something
I've had the chance to explore very much. I know how mine feels. I
like to slide my fingers underneath my hair, parallel with my scalp,
so there's a weft of hair between each of the fingers. I tuck my thumb
out of the way and run my fingers in circles over the soft bits of
hair when I'm tired. I marvel that anything could be so soft. Sometimes
I slide Jake's fingers against the nape of my neck in the same way,
to make him feel what I feel, but he doesn't do it right. His touch
isn't delicate enough to appreciate it, I suspect. 'Soft, isn't it?'
I say, but he just agrees, in that 'yes, dear,' voice used to appease
inquisitive womenfolk, and moves his hand away.
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