Husband and I took a country walk which happened to lead to the road near to Laura’s house.
We walked on the pavement, when we saw Laura heading on the opposite side.
I recognised her walk, I recognised her frame, I recognised her uniform. I did not recognise her hair. Husband and I crossed the road to greet our daughter.
‘Thought I’d have a change,’ she said. She lifted her hand to her scalp. She rummaged through her hair. ‘I’ve got blisters on my head from the bleach. It had to stay on so long, because the colour wouldn’t take.’
Husband stared past her. He had seen and heard enough.
‘Do you like my hair?’ She asked. She directed her stare at me.
‘No, I don’t.’ Unlike my daughter, I am not good at untruths.
Laura pulled her hand away from her scalp. She hitched her bag up her shoulder.
Emotion hit me like a slap. Sadness came to ride with me again. Why? Why does my beautiful daughter born to good looks, unique looks, want to look like somebody else? I fought hard to bank a swell of tears waiting behind my eyes. I failed. Out the tears fell, poured down my face. I looked away from Laura. My pain was so great.
‘What’s up Mum? Don’t cry.’
‘What’s the matter?’ Husband asked.
I wanted to say, ‘look at her, who is she?‘ but, I could not. Instead, I said, ‘I don’t like it. I don’t like your dark hair turned blonde.’
Laura shrugged. She sniffed the air.