The Hearse This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 14, 2012
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She stares empty-minded
out the window of the back
seat. No music
plays, not even the classical
combo her husband always loved,
always forced her to listen to.

She remembers
braiding her hair,
second date preparations
more important than the first.

Should it be plain
down her back,
falling in the middle of the ridge
formed between her shoulder blades,
her rib cage, her pelvic bones
when she sat up straight or laid
belly down?
Should it be French,
exotic like the man she was trying to impress?
Should she try
something new like he
suggested only a few nights before
twisting a braid into a bun?

She smiles, thinking of his stunned
look when she stepped into his truck.
Even while he was dying he still
gazed at her with the same
admiration of her beauty. She thinks that
she has grown old and that her loveliness
faded long ago like fabric in the sunlight, but
he always disagreed. Who will tell her now
that she looks just as fresh as when they first met?

She left her hair for last,
plenty of time to spare
after donning her dress
and applying mascara and rouge.
One braid down the back,
she decided.

With her blind stare out the glass,
she sees people getting
frustrated as they try to enter the
highway, suddenly halted
by the procession. She makes eye
contact with a girl around 17
years old who bangs the steering
wheel then sits back in submission.
She starts fiddling with the ends
of her hair to keep her idle
hands busy. The widow
knew that restless feeling well.

Her hands moved quickly
intricate. She pulled,
yanked, tugged until every curly
strand was in place. She wasn't the
kind of girl who liked loose braids.
A good braid is like a good marriage.
The weaving should be tight.

Her wiry gray hair
doesn't plait like it
used to. She can't pull it tight
anymore with her sensitive
scalp. So she fingers
through her hair like she's playing a
harp, gently
plucking the music her husband loved.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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madhattermatad0r said...
Oct. 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm
Amanda R. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 2, 2013 at 12:49 am
Thank you!
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