Weight (183 words)
The thick braid warms her neck like heavy rope. Unbound it reaches to her knees, so every morning she is dragged from sleep to the hard stool. She perches while her mother’s bone fingers tug and weave, winding the braid tight.
Our eyes meet across the room but we fidget and pull down our pleated skirts. We pick at our nails and catch stray ends of hair.
I step out of the toilet cubicle and find her standing at the sink. She stares into the mirror. I pick up her braid, filling my arms with its warm weight. As I take the strain she sees me at last, eyes bumping in the mirror, and her throat makes a sigh like a rush of wind.
In secret I unpick the braid and spread it wide. My fingers crash through the soft waves and the wind rushes again. I wait for a smile. Each time I bind the braid again, though we know it won’t fool her mother.
One day she cannot sit up straight. I pull out my scissors, hidden for weeks. I cut.
Written for the CAKE.shortandsweet Wednesday Write-in
I’m still working on my free stories – comment if you’d like one!