Dancer [Flash Fiction]

Her hair is coiled into a bun. The strands of hair are pulled tightly – so tightly that they hurt. The girl scratches the top of her neck, desperate to dislodge some of them.

‘Don’t do that,’ her mother says and she drops her hand so that she’s staring out the train window again, watching the approaching city. She’s silent – her hair still feels too tight, but there’s no point complaining now.

As they pull into the city, her mother taps her on the shoulder, helps her into her coat, and checks her hair again, just to be sure.

She sits in front of a mirror – her hair coiled into a bun, secured by pins, a hairnet, and plenty of hair spray, like it always was before. She’s well practiced now.

Her mother’s instructions echo in her mind.

Someone rushes into the dressing room, knocking over a can of hairspray. It clatters to the floor and she watches it roll away, under a table. An announcement is made on the loudspeaker.

The memory fades into the distant past.

It’s just her, alone at her mirror.

She puts her hand up to her bun, to be sure that it’s secure. It took a while, but she got used to the tightness, the hairs pulling at her scalp.

But now she has to do her own hair.