by Alyson Faye
The pink glove lay on the ground, along with several tufts of nylon blonde hair and varied plastic body parts, though mysteriously only one arm could be accounted for. Liz sighed. She wished her two daughters were less confrontational in their daily ‘Barbie Wars’.
Samuel’s mum had confided at Jingles Play Centre the other day, that as a mum of two boys, the Star Wars battles were worse. The family’s dog was often dragged in to play an unwilling Chewbacca, whilst standing on her hind legs.
Liz stared glumly at the cat poo in the children’s sand box and reached for her rubber gloves.
‘Mum, can I cut Ivy’s hair?’
‘No you blo---oming well can’t. Mollie, leave your sister alone.’
The joys of sibling jealousy. Oh how Mollie resented her sister’s lavish red curls. A stab of memory skewered Liz, while she was bending down to the polluted sand box, with the waistband of her skirt cutting her in half.
Herself, aged six-years-old, her younger sister and a fistful of felt tips, which their mother eventually discovered didn’t wash off with any amount of scrubbing, but had to wear away over the days. Liz winced at the memory of her sister’s felt-tipped pirate face, decorated with a black eye patch and a red scar, tagging along after her, beaming and faithful.
Ivy’s anguished screech dragged Liz back to the present moment. She stood upright and saw Mollie marching towards her, clutching another Barbie doll. She squinted at the doll’s once bald head, which now appeared to be wearing red curls. Further down the garden Ivy lay, on the grass, sun hat in place, apparently busy making a daisy chain. All appeared normal.
‘Barbie likes being a redhead, Mummy.’
One of the curls dropped off as Mollie waved the doll around her head. They appeared to be cello-taped on. Liz pulled off the rubber gloves, at the same time noticing her sapphire engagement ring had plopped into the midst of the cat’s toilet. She grabbed Barbie off her eldest, who stood smirking in a manner a mother would be instantly suspicious of.
‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?’ Though it was becoming clear to her, as more red curls unpeeled and drifted to the grass.
Mollie smiled up at her, showing the gap where her two front teeth had been. ‘It’s OK, Mummy. I haven’t done anything. I let Ivy hold the scissors. I just helped her.’
The last of the cello-taped curls plopped into Liz’s hands, and at the same time Ivy tugged off the sun hat and revealed her uneven tufty haircut to the world.
The clock in the conservatory chimed the hour. Liz counted the strokes – one to ten, whilst holding onto her temper and deep breathing as Meditation classes had taught her.
Mollie watched her, with deep interest. ‘Why are you doing your funny breathing again, Mummy?’ she asked.
Only 10 a.m.
Another eight hours until Relief Aid arrives, aka Daddy comes home and mixes me a dry Martini.
Another whole eight hours . . .
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