The Pink Hairbrush by S.J. Eaves


“The Pink Hairbrush” by S.J. Eaves


Wear your hair long and straight and hanging to your waist. Brush your hair one hundred times a night with the pink hairbrush until it glistens like silken dark thread. Let lovers tangle fingers in your hair, whispering words of appreciation, some of them lies. Set your pink hairbrush on your dresser beside your cinnamon scented perfume.

Now that your daughter is small, store the pink hairbrush in a drawer. Take it out and use it once before leaving the house for the grocery store, your work, or to take your daughter to school, gymnastics, dance class. Your hair is shoulder-length, the cut simple, but it is still full and dark. Brush your daughter’s pale hair with the pink hairbrush while she is seated on her fairy princess bedspread. Tell her bedtime stories by lamplight as you brush. After your daughter is asleep, carry the brush back to your own bedroom and place it back in the drawer without brushing your own hair. You are too tired to care.

Throw the pink hairbrush into a suitcase along with some hastily assembled clothing the day your husband hits you on the jaw. Borrow twenty dollars from a friend for gas money, then pick up your daughter from daycare. Drive to your parent’s house to think. “Give him another chance. He didn’t mean it,” your father says. So you do give him another chance, but it only delays the inevitable. Move the pink hairbrush along with the rest of your things on the day you know for certain that you and your daughter must leave.

Don’t use the pink hairbrush at all the morning of your daughter’s wedding. Hire a professional to fix your hair in honor of the occasion. Do your hair up in a poufy style you hope is appropriate. Smile as your ex walks your daughter down the aisle. After the wedding cake has been cut, the bird seed thrown, after your daughter has been launched into a new life, after the guests have gone home, you can barely rake the pink hairbrush through your teased and plastered hair. Lay it down on your dresser next to the lily of the valley corsage your daughter made for you by hand. Wonder if you will ever wear that tight, sequined, mother-of-the-bride dress again. Think about joining a health club.

Now your hair streaks with gray and is shorn to just below the chin. You are crinkled in some places of your body, puffy in others. No one seems to care whether or not you use the pink hairbrush. Sometimes you feel invisible. Wonder where the pink hairbrush will end up after you are gone, in a box somewhere perhaps. In a dumpster. Rather it be thrown into the ocean. Rather it race nobly, defiantly, freely, with seahorses.



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The work of SJ Eaves has appeared in Short Story America, T-Zero Quarterly, Funny Story,
and World City Stories. Two of her fiction pieces won honorable mention in the St. Louis
Writer’s Guild annual short story contest. SJ spent her formative years in the Midwest and now
lives in Sedona, Arizona. She recently earned a creative writing certificate at UCLA and is at
work on her first novel.


Author: A Room of Her Own

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