Her hair leaps into my hands, clinging to the plastic comb she hates. I let it go and immediately, like blown by some unseen wind, it rushes to cover her small round face. The cackle of static electricity sounds as I swap the comb for the hairbrush and run it through the length of the hair. There are no knots, but I continue brushing. Her little face shows extreme impatience, and she’s begun to shift around uncomfortably in the high backed wooden chair she sits on.
Hold still, I murmur, enjoying the smooth silky hair, but she won’t. She is too anxious to be off. Her mother had leaned into the strokes. Her mother was a little lady, unlike this one, who was tomboy if I ever saw one.
Enough, please! Comes her still sharp voice, and she jumps off the chair. Her legs had dangled well off the floor when seated. She grabs my hands, the contrast of my dry wrinkled calloused hands – softened by time alone – and her pink fat little hands strikes me suddenly. I feel old. She suddenly kisses my hands and takes off, to her friends. To her life.