The Beauty

December 30, 2009
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She was beautiful, she was always beautiful. Her white polka dotted navy skirt swirled around her slim calves as she rushed around the kitchen, taking that night’s dinner out of the oven, tasting the mashed potatoes and putting the rolls in a decorated basket all in one smooth swoop. The motion was perfected after years of repetition. My mother was what I thought a picture of perfection would be, the woman who every little girl grew up to be secretly jealous of. Standing in our kitchen I always gazed at her in a fully adoring fashion as her blond hair curled to perfection never fell out of place, compared to my own dull brown frizz. I tried to dye my hair blond one day when I was twelve; my best friend had told me that her older sister used peroxide to turn her hair a shade lighter. On our way home from school one day, we took a detour and stopped by the pharmacy and I bought a large bottle with the money that I had saved up from vacuuming the various rooms in the house. My mother vacuumed at least once a day. I slid the bottle in my backpack as Cherie and I ran to my house, feeling like we were grown up as well as breaking some imaginary law.

I kneeled over the edge of the bath tub as Cherie poured the chemical on my hair and I squeezed my eyes shut tight, the peroxide cool against my scalp. Cherie said you had to let it sit, so we sat on my white tiled bathroom floor imagining all the compliments I would get on my new hairstyle the next day at school, a towel wrapped around my hair. After a few minutes I saw to my horror that my hair was not the glamorous blond that I had dreamt of, but an awful green-white color, covering my entire head except for a few clumps at my roots. Worse yet, when Cherie rinsed out the awful chemical, strands of hair came with it, leaving a mess of hair in the bottom of my tub. As I saw my hair fall out before my eyes, uncontrollable tears came pouring out of me, mixing with my most recent mistake in the spotless bottom of the porcelain tub. I sulked downstairs, head held in pure shame as I walked into our bright yellow kitchen with the matching green refrigerator and oven where my movie star mother was once again making a dinner that would impress Julia Chiles. She turned to me, pot roast in hand, and with one long sweeping glance of her piercing green eyes made me feel even worse. The one thing I inherited from my mother was her eyes, but I could not seem to make them work in the ways she could, despite hours of practicing in the bright blue mirror in my room. With one glance my mother could ruin a person.

Without a word, she took me upstairs, back to the white porcelain tub and the white spot less tiles that now seemed to mock me with their perfection. I noticed that Cherie seemed to have disappeared, probably to her own house a few doors down to our own model of suburbia. The steady stream of tears had increased, blurring my vision. Through my distorted view of our bathroom, I saw my mother open up the big white closet in the bathroom and she pulled out a few towels. After handing one to me, she reached her elegant arm deep into the closet and brought out a box of hair dye. She held the box in her hand, and for the first time in my life I watched as my goddess of a mother cried. She looked at me; the green in her eyes only intensified by her tears and in a wavering voice instead of her soft and commanding one said, “Your father always told me he wanted a blond.”

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SmileySunnyD This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm
Very interesting! I liked how you mixed humor with drama and raw emotion! Great job!
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