Wednesday, January 17, 2007

sooner or later

I get ready in a hurry which makes me unusually decisive. Usually I throw clothes about and then leave the house wearing what I always wear, this time I stick with first choices; slick my hair to one side, not really caring. I need to get out and dance off the irritations of the day and that is all I am focussed on. Almost ready to leave, I squirt myself quickly with perfume and take a last look in the mirror. The hair needs more glue, it'll never stay that way while it is so thick. I rummage about in a box, find some hairspray and spray it in the vague direction of my hair.

I run down the stairs towards the front door. Somehow as I move I catch the scent of myself.

It's 1972, and I am lying on the sofa with my Daddy. He is reading me the Ladybird version of Cinderella. My mother is upstairs getting dressed to go out while we look at the pictures: the bluebell-coloured dress, the sparkling gown of white and gold, the fat roll of flaxen hair that falls over Cinderella's shoulder. The pictures are the best bit of the story.

She comes downstairs, ready to leave. She is wearing a long empire-line dress which swirls with pinks and oranges, and her hair is piled on top of her head. She bends over to kiss me goodnight before they leave. Hairspray and perfume.

I rush out of the door to the car.