ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Friday, 20 August 2010

Black Angel - Life of Crime/#fridayflash

Black Angel


Black is my new favourite colour.


Your hair is the first part of you I see as I push you into the world. Amidst the euphoria and pain I am surprised to see a little head covered in black. Sure, it is messed in little curly strands, mixed with blood and fluid, but when the nurse washes you and hands you to me wrapped in a shawl as soft as fairy down, your hair is a halo of black fuzz. As I gaze at you I fall in love. I hold you close and kiss you and blow soft puffs of air across your head, catching my breath in wonder.

Art is blonde and I'm a redhead. Go figure. But I love your black downy fuzz. It goes so well with your bright red wrinkly just-been-born skin.

I'm ready to leave the hospital when I get a huge shock. You’ve gone bald. My God! Your beautiful black hair is no more. No one warned me about this. How can this be? To go from fuzzy black to bald overnight. Obviously I hadn’t read the baby books closely enough. Is there something wrong with you? No, I'm told. This is quite normal. Normal, I huff, no one told me I was going to have a bald baby. I hug you close, mourning the loss of your baby locks. It looks like I’ve given you a zero cut with Art’s clippers. It’s ok, I'm told, she won’t stay bald for long.
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Within a week your hair grew back, but this time it wasn’t black, it was blonde.

And blonde it remained, except when you were sixteen and you and your friends decided to go goth at a pyjama party. When I picked you up, there you were, one of six gorgeous girls with charcoal-black hair, thrift-shop black overcoats and black Doc Martens, laces trailing like old spaghetti. My mouth was open, ready to tear strips off you, when I realised that you hadn’t gone black, you were…

…red, see Mum. I wanted to be a redhead like you. Whaddayathink?

It’ll grow back, I say, a bit at a loss.


The redheaded phase only lasted a few months, then the blonde was back but with a red tinge. I wondered why you didn't go black like your friends who kept their black hair, their overcoats and Docs, then added piercings, tatts and attitude, but I was pleased you didn't take it all on board.

How I loved your long strawberry-blonde curls. You were a Botticelli angel come to life. My heart did somersaults just looking at you, lying there in your dark room at night, clutching your red teddy bear, your hair wavy on the black satin pillowcase with its single red rose.

Art was beside himself, terrified every time you went out at night. He'd pace the floor, look at the clock, look out the windows.

I prayed.

Art always hated your friends, especially Jack with the black mohawk, stiff as a weapon. You were Art's little angel. He never wanted you to grow up.


He got his wish.

Who would have thought that you'd be caught between Jack and Art's hatred? Who would have thought you'd take the fatal blow? Oh, Art...Art...Angel...Angel...

Here you are, lying so close to me on your four-poster bed with its black drapery. But tonight your beautiful strawberry-blonde hair is hidden from me. Except for one curl, caught in the zipper of the slick black body bag.

Black is no longer my favourite colour.



©Denise Covey, 2010


39 comments:

  1. a deliciously painted story, loved the staging through colours.

    Marc Nash

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  2. Beautiful rendering, like a painting, as you take us through the stages. Tragic, poignant.

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  3. Marc, thanks for that..:)

    Laura: Thanks, enjoyed yours very much..:)

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  4. Marc, thanks for that..:)

    Laura: Thanks, enjoyed yours very much..:)

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  5. The simulated exchanges, like wanting to be a redhead "like you," and the changing of favorite colors were my favorite parts. This reads heartfelt. Thanks for share, L'Aussie.

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  6. Absolutely powerful writing. And love how you begin and end with powerful emotion.

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  7. John, thanks for your comments..:)

    Marisa: Glad you liked it..:)

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  8. So tragic and moving. You've done a great job at drawing out emotion with your imagery.

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  9. Amazing imagery. The evolution of the meaning of color.
    And the stab to the heart at the end. I felt that keenly.
    I have two daughters, both of whom had black hair at birth. :) Thankfully they're too young for Doc Martins.

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  10. Erin, glad it touched you. Yes, it is scarifying to imagine such a thing happening to your own..:)

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  11. Marvellous! This story really sucked me in - very powerful.

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  12. Oh, that's such a sad story! You did a good job with this, you managed to portray a lot in very few words - I really liked it!

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  13. Brilliant writing. A life sketched out through something as everyday as hair. Just loved this.

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  14. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh

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  15. Hi,

    I hope you're having a go at the Word Paint Blogfest - this was so visual and poignant!

    Sorry to be late with a comment, but been tied up with double-day "Guess the Character blogfest". It was amazing fun, huge number of participants. I'm sure I missed some of the entries.

    best
    F

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  16. Pamela Jo: Thanks..:)

    Christine: Thanks..:)

    Alexandra: Thanks..:)

    GPChing: Glad you really liked it..:)

    Francine: Life is so so busy in the blogosphere. I think I'd decided I was too busy for the word paint blogfest, but I may have another look.Glad the character blogfest went well. Hey, you can't win 'em all as they say!

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  17. What a powerful story. The ending gave me goosebumps and I don't usually get excited about stories.

    I wanted to contact you but couldn't see how, so I'm putting this here. I hope it's OK.

    I've written a YA fantasy novel, Lethal Inheritance and like all new authors I need some help getting the word out.

    You can read ch 1 at http://publishersearch.wordpress.com/lethal-inheritance/
    If you like it, I'd appreciate it if you could mention it to your readers.

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  18. Tahlia, have visited and followed your blog. Thanks for commenting..:)

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  19. Such a sad, deep story… I love how you connected colors to emotions- great imagery!

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  20. Thank you Lua..nice to meet you..:)

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  21. How very tragic. It's almost got a message in there as well to let the little things go.

    Beautifully written, well done you.

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  22. Oh, this was heartbreaking. Gorgeous render. Made my heart hurt. Well, well done.

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  23. Rebecca, yes, there is definitely that message. Thank you..:)

    Carrie, yes, it is upsetting as it could reflect life..:)

    L Diane Wolfe: Thanks for the award..:)

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  24. Wow! This is chilling stuff. Right from the beginning there was a sense of foreboding, even though it was a seemingly happy story about the birth of a baby.

    Great work.

    Jai

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  25. I relate very much to this. Tragic and sad. So well done.

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  26. Jai, great that you got that sense of foreboding..:)

    Terry, yes it is sadly a reflection of life in many ways..:)

    Suzanne: Thanks!!

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  27. this is a really effective progression using color. i like how you came full circle with the black. nice!:)

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  28. So poingant! Beautifully written.

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  29. Wow. This is a really tragic and beautiful piece. Great job with the imagery! Very moving.

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  30. This is beautifully written, and it caught at my throat and made me weep.

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  31. Rayna, thank you for the touching comment. It is sad and could be true..:)

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  32. This is not only beautifully written but it has a very surprising ending.

    By the way, I didn't know that a blonde baby/child could be born w/ black hair.

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  33. notesfromnadir: yes, they can be and it often falls out. I'm glad you enjoyed it..:)

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