The Play


I sit down in the kitchen on a chopped down bar stool,
that my father favours of an evening,
to consume his 10pm ritual of cheese and crackers.
This pine seats custom height makes it perfect for hair cuts and dyes.
The kitchen, has a pale green lino floor,
making it easy to sweep up the cut hair.
There is a cloakroom located to the left,
with a mirror for quick length checks.
The time is 7pm, dinner is done,
the left over food in tupperware and pyrex,
out harms way from stray hairs and the like,
and crucially there is time, before Eastenders starts.
To dampen my hair I stick my head under the tap,
then pat it with a old orange towel,
at some point over the years most of the towels have been replaced,
with new generic blue and grey versions,
but some stray hand towels always seam to remain,
from the 70’s with patterns like bus seats,
reminding me that my parents existed before I did.
I wrap the towel around my shoulders,
and sit down on the stool,
with good posture,
for I anticipate its need in the role play that is due.
My mother enters the room,
with scissors in one hand,
and a spray bottle in another.
She mocks me for putting my head under the tap,
because of course she has the spray bottle in her hand,
usually reserved for spraying at the dog,
when he barks at the postman,
or hydrating the plants in the windowsills.
Then it begins,
my mother puts on an accent which is hard to describe,
but I think eludes to a character,
that is slightly more crass and pally,
than my mothers usual genteel tone.
She tilts her head,
and gestures with the scissors,
asking me what I would like done.
I reply talking through the most complex haircut I can think of at the time,
layers, perms, rinses, hi-lights, lo-lights, crimping, undercuts, etc..
My mother recommends a shade for my hair,
by selecting an ornament from a dresser located to the right of us,
this time she picks up a pale blue milk jug.
I nod, agree, then sigh and declare,
in what I perceive to be a deep male cockney accent,
‘just the usual then please luv.’
And so my mother begins,
she trims the off dead ends,
taking about a centimetre,
of the total length all the way around.
I keep my posture strait, keen,
I feel like a child playing with my mother.
I feel excitable about our shared game.
I can smell my childhood in that spot,
directly in the centre of my parents house,
I have memories of my mothers friends,
gathered in the kitchen chatting with cups of tea,
whilst me and the other children,
are running from room to room and between their legs.
In my memory the sun naturally is always shining.
My mother still in character,
starts asking me if I’m going anywhere nice for my holidays.
I start listing off places on my finger tips,
Malibu, Crete, Majorca, Minorca, Cornwall, Blackpool, Southend.
To each place that I list my mother replies with comments like;
‘lovely, my Franks been there’
or ‘gorgeous, me and our Jason went there for our anniversary.’
At the point of conclusion my mother comes out of character briefly,
to check that I am happy with the length,
although in-discernibly shorter,
I then check in the mirror and approve,
at which point my mother steps back into character,
and delivers her closing statement,
‘Right then my love that’ll be two fifty for you.’
The hair gets swept up,
the stool put back to the side,
and the towel shook off in the garden.
The deed is done the play finished,
we sit down to watch the TV.







(C) demelza watts