prompt: describe an object coveted as a child. I chose my sister’s hair, because its awesome, and always has been.
I also find myself, often wondering, how we, two sisters, ended up with such a life of living next door, and marrying brothers, and sharing all of our belongings and ideas and jokes.
Dirty blond, voluminous, and wildly perfect is the hair I was born without. Mine, dark and heavy, is too straight and much too stubborn to possess a joyful bend despite the desires of my imagination. My sister’s curls, though, soft and gentle, rebound effortlessly to every request and idea, of a mother whose hair is the same. I looked up, with eyes younger and legs shorter, to see their bouncing curls, hopping with a melodious rhythm; in sync and on key.
I remember feeling often like my limp strands, straight and heavy, sounded like they looked: blunt, unforgiving, and flat. Its at-home hair cuts often left it unaware of its unevenness and lack of trend. Gravity, is the first of the laws, which bounds each straight strand of this dermis unwilling to take a shape but its own. Her curls, though, are quite agreeable to pressure so long as its not atmospheric, and scissors that make mistakes. Yet, even when its humid, all those bends seem cool, making their frizzy halo as round as her face, pure and beautiful.
Before each special occasion, like my first day at school or First Holy Communion, I slept in rollers for at least two days. I would have curled it always, if I had been allowed. But the process of getting hair like theirs with hair like mine is timely, tedious, and requires help from someone bigger, just like the girl to which it belongs. And even after all those hours of attempt to curl and primp, my sluggish main, released from the curling sponge, remained wet and still quite limp, full of awkward kinks that made no curl at all. I envied all those spirals, and wished they’d take me away, wrapping me and my insecurities up into a bun or maybe something cuter with a bow of silk or barrett that sparkles.
Maria often wondered why I tried so hard, to rid myself of all this hair, different than hers, and than moms, just the way she liked it. She’d brush and braid and pick out bands to adorn my silly head, that failed to see its beauty, and only hers, instead. The cloud of little sister envy made it hard to see beyond her and her curls. So, she’d remind me of its color, and the way she saw it: pure and rich and dark, unchanged even by the sun. Its willingness to stay the same, and sway, instead of bounce, “Its the kind of hair of princesses and queens who wear jewels and crowns, and of beautiful brides with veils and lace and love.” She showed me her knots that a comb could not help, and its ends split from weakness inherent in its type. She talked of birds and nests, afros with no taming, and other things confused by mirrors. Our difference, still, unwelcome, but the brewing bond of hair spawned a question quite courageous. “Do you think I could borrow that sweater? Its dark like me, and fits me pretty well. It seems to match this headband that you picked, and these new high heels that make me tall like you.”
She surely sensed my begging, but, distracted by my knowing how the sweater fit, she also sensed my sneaking presence in her closet. “Get out” she said quite plainly, which was awfully rather rude, after all that talk of royalty, and weddings with lace and love.