Friday, 7 October 2016

When She Cuts Her Hair - Flash Fiction


Spiwe entered Clementine’s bedroom and found her standing in front of the mirror, examining the short strands of hair above her ears.
     ‘I want to cut it even shorter. What do you think?’ Clementine said, turning her head sideways.
     Spiwe shrugged and regarded her. ‘Not sure. You know what they say. When a woman cuts her hair, there’s no going back,’ she said.
     Clementine gave a soft laugh. Through the mirror, her eyes darted from her head to the maid. ‘Don’t believe everything you hear,’ she said.
‘Everything?’ Spiwe positioned the broom she had in her hand on the floor, a few centimetres from Clementine, and began to sweep slowly and methodically.
     ‘That’s what I said,’ Clementine said pulling a tiny chunk of hair from the back of her head.
     Spiwe began to hum a tune, ‘Take it to the Lord in prayer.’
     Clementine stopped what she was doing.
     ‘If you have something to say Spiwe, just say it.’
     Spiwe’s mouth contorted to one side. ‘I have nothing to say.’
     ‘That’s not true and you know it. Each time you sing one of those church songs you always have something to say.’
     ‘It’s none of my business.’
     ‘Well, it is mine now.’
     Spiwe hesitated. ‘Okay, I don’t want you to get cross with me, ma’am. I just head th…’
     ‘First of all, do not call me ma’am. I’m not my mother. Second, I won’t get cross. We’re friends, remember?’ Clementine interrupted her.
     ‘Okay.’ Spiwe placed the broom against the wall and walked over to Clementine. ‘Is everything okay with you, child?’ She reached and touched her shoulder. ‘Only I heard ma’am say something over tell the phone.’
     Clementine arched her brow. ‘What did she say?’
     ‘That things ain’t right with you.’ Spiwe lowered her voice.
Clementine cleared her throat. ‘What things?’
     Spiwe shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It just got me wondering, that’s all,’ she replied.
     Clementine snorted. She liked Spiwe and regarded her as the sister she never had, though much older. But, the realisation that she possessed intimate details about her ordeal disturbed Clementine. She had seen how maids liked to huddle in fences’ corners, whispering about their employers. The last thing she needed was rumours spreading about her sad life. At that moment, Clementine wished she had not cut her hair. She had only done it to spite her mother for the way she badgered her to go to the salon and to get out of the house. Now, it seemed, Spiwe had seen it as a symbol of a turning point in her life.

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