a few scary cats

May 18, 2008 at 3:01 am (Uncategorized)

          “Can you do Angela’s hair?” D asked in a polite voice, one that I fell in love with. I could hear his aunt’s raspy voice on the other end. She didn’t sound too excited.

“Yeah, alright.” I nodded unsure of whether this was a good idea or not. I didn’t know his Aunt J too well, but she seemed nice, just a little off, but I wasn’t sure why. D told me stories about her, stories that would make you cringe and want to cry. But, whenever meeting people I try not to judge from preconceived notions, and I try to see the full human being without judgment.

          I had a dance later on that day and my hair was too frizzy, curly, and not just the way I wanted it. I imagined that I would somehow turn the straighter on extra heat in order to flatten out my waves. I was excited and I wanted to feel good and look different.

          D’s grandfather lives in a large Victorian style home, he told me that a Colonel lived there during world war. I really loved the high ceilings, the long, elaborate windows, and the arched doorways. His aunt lived upstairs.

          Upon our way up the bare stairs, we reached a small space which was cluttered with too many things to name. I don’t remember much other than I couldn’t breath. The air was heavy with smoke and animals. I remember that a skinny grey cat scampered past me and went into the nearby room which was lit by a dim, yellow light. We followed the cat in.

          In the corner of the room, there was a shaggy black and white dog on a leash barking. A few cats fled in and out. I wondered how many animals lived here.

          The room could have looked wonderful. The walls were painted a creamy peach, and the windows were stapled shut with a similar color curtains. The furniture was old and yet full of color, covered in dust. The bed was in the center of the room, it looked like a cloud. There was a fireplace with a wonderful mantle, but it was filled with so many trinkets – a cross, pictures of Jesus, candles, and old socks.

          I took a seat on the bed and waited for her to come with her beauty supplies. D sat down next to me and started to type on his laptop. Aunt J soon came back with a strange concoction of hair gels—one that looked like suntan oil.  Aunt J was a simple woman. She wore a pink t-shirt and jeans. She looked a lot like D with the dove-shaped eyes and Roman nose. Her hair was brown and streaked with gold.

          “You know this stuff is really heavy, it’s good for your hair, and it should keep the curls down,” she showed me the bottle and began to drench my hair with this “heavy” lotion. I could feel my hair becoming curlier.

          “You know before we really start. I was wondering if I could use your bathroom?” She smiled and led me down the hall, and I followed, trying to avoid a cord that was obstructing my path. She led me to the doorway, and I paused when I saw two cats sitting near the white tub staring right at me!

          “Are those cats OK? They look sick,” She looked at me in disbelief. The two white cats looked sat each other and continued to gaze at me with piercing eyes. I wanted to runaway. They looked like they were going to attack.

          “Of course not!” But her smile was skeptical and I didn’t know her well enough to know whether she was telling the truth. I suddenly didn’t have to go anymore and I left the bathroom.

          When I reentered the bedroom, D was still on his computer. “What’s the matter with those cats?” He shrugged and didn’t look up from what he was doing.

          For the next hour, Aunt J continued to straighten my hair and lather it with different gels and oils. By the time she exclaimed that she was “all finished!” I left with my hair looking curlier than it was went I got in. More curls, more curls, more atrocious curls!

          Why! Why! Why! I asked myself again and again. How do I get myself in these messes? With scary beady-eyed cats and smoky rooms and places with no sunlight?

          I think Aunt J was a nice lady, but I don’t think she was paying any attention to my hair. She continued to chat about this and that, and she was easy to talk to, but still I wanted my hair to look straight!

“How many dogs and cats do you have?” I asked when the silence became overbearing.

“I have two dogs and six cats,” I nodded. “I just love animals, you know. I would love to breed them, but the recession…” I didn’t know what to say, so I just kept quiet.

When she asked me how she thought my hair looked, I smiled and I told her that it looked really nice.

          “How does it look D?” He looked up from his computer.

          “Nice,” D said with a smile. “It looks nice.”

It was a relief when D asked if I was ready to leave. I gave him my pleading look and he knew. My throat ached. The heaviness of the air had left my feelings of thirst insatiable. The animals watched as I gathered together my things and headed out the door, down the stairs.


1 Comment

  1. TheElementary said,

    You’ve really captured some tension in this, and a lot of sadness too. I can practically see that house in my mind’s eye…

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