~ This piece is part of a short story ~
You can read Part One, Helena, HERE
Part Two, Gladys, HERE
Part Three, Mrs. Statton, HERE
Part Four, Eat Crow, HERE
Helena picks at the jagged piece of blue vinyl poking up from the empty side of her bus seat. Sure, Gladys had driven that first day of school, but now that her duty’s done, Helena is on her own. She doesn’t mind. She’d taken a long, hot shower this morning and had the mirror all to herself. Gladys, apparently long gone, had texted her to point out the obvious – bananas on counter, yogurt in fridge.
Forgoing sustenance, Helena had instead wrapped her slight fingers around the thick white handle of the carafe on the counter and poured herself a cup of steamy black coffee.
Now, her collar damp from her still wet hair, she shivers as the bus ride makes the liquid roll in her stomach.
Pulling the cord, she gets off at the stop before the one closest to the school and inhales before venturing on. She’d done something. Something that had seemed like a good idea. Well, not a good idea maybe so much as something she hadn’t been able to stop. The secrets had poured from her fast and furious, like the coffee out of the pot, dark and scalding. And now it’s too late. There they are, black and bitter.
Her bag pulls at her shoulder as she walks and her hair begins to sway as it starts to dry. She can smell the shampoo Gladys buys in the huge blue tub wafting in the breeze. Although the sun is out she shivers again, the damp now reaching the middle of her back.
Unaware of her fingers, she twists and twirls several strands before choosing just the right one to pluck from the bunch.
“You should leave some on your head,” a voice from behind her calls out. “Most people look better with hair.”
“Not interested.” Helena answers and keeps walking.
“Well, except maybe Sinead O’Connor. I have to admit she’s hot bald. A little old now maybe, but still…hot.”
Without turning around, Helena replies; “Like I said, I’m not interested in what you think of me or Sinead or our hair. Piss off.”
“Well, pick away then,” the voice continues. “But fair warning – you’re no Sinead.”