The gasp and the open mouthed stare I got from Ma when I walked in the door was reward enough. I couldn’t wait till she flipped her lid over my new eyebrow piercing and shocking blue hair.
I sauntered into my room to collect myself, I had to, there was no way I would let her see me in pain. My forehead throbbed now that the mild anaesthetic had worn off and I was feeling jittery at the memory of the needle and my blood. I detested needles. Not to mention the itchy sensation in my hair from the bleach they had to use to get any colour to stay in my black hair which I’d inherited from my father was making me want to yank out my hair.
I knew that ma would be more upset about the hair than the piercing though. She absolutely loved dad’s hair and by proxy mine. But I had to do what I did, it had been too long that I had any attention from either of them, especially Ma.
The phone vibrating in my pocket interrupted my hunt for the antiseptic ointment that I was sure was somewhere in the clutter of my desk. A glance at it told me it was my partner in crime.
‘Why are you whispering?’
‘I’m in my room, trying to get something to ease this piercing to stop stinging like a bitch!’ I sighed as I threw myself on my chair.
‘Oooh! Did you meet her yet? What did she say? Did she yell?’
‘She saw me!’ I pinched the bridge of my nose and contemplated taking off my lenses. My eyes were starting to water too. ‘And no, she didn't yell. Ma doesn’t yell, like... ever! You know that!’
‘Well yeah, but then again, she’s never seen such an act of stupidity from you yet!’
‘It’s rebellion, you ass! Not stupidity! Besides, I shocked her into silence.’ I replied smugly. Ma was never at a loss of words, ever! She talked so much and about so many things, that her choice of livelihood was writing. To me, that was a bigger accomplishment.
‘NO! No way! Really?’
I had to hold the phone away from my ear at the risk of blowing my ear-drum at her squeal.
‘Yes, really! She just stood there in front of the kitchen, with the fridge door open and a bottle of water in her hands. She didn't even move or take her eyes off me in all the time it took me to chuck my boots and make my way to the room.’
‘I can’t even imagine what’s going on in her head right now.’ She giggled.
‘Neither can I!’ I sighed. ‘But it serves her right! Nothing these days catches her attention anymore. She lives in her own little world. Galleries, book-tours...’
‘Yeah, yeah, I know Ry!’ She sighed. ‘Although, I have to say, your Ma is pretty cool. It’s a good thing you also got that piercing, I doubt the hair will bother her that much.’
‘Talking about that, it stings like a bitch! I shouldn’t have let you talk me into that!’ I gingerly wiped the sore spot just above the eyebrow. ‘Also, you don't know how paranoid she is about Dad and my hair, Sam! There is no way she is going to be okay with me messing it up!’
‘But, you’re 20 years old! You can’t tell me that she still insists that you listen to her about how you should groom?’
‘You’ve known me for over 10 of them, Sam. When have you ever seen me with short hair once we were out of school and there was no rule about me having to keep it short?’ I chuckled. ‘Trust me, she is going to freak! And bad!’
‘I wonder if she is calling Dad now.’
‘Will you be in that much trouble?’
‘Honestly? I have no freaking clue!’ and I truly didn't. My parents were nothing if not unpredictable and whimsical. ‘But, tell you what, if things get bad, I might have to come over to your place for a few hours in the evening.’
‘Of course, you know you can come over any time Ry.’
‘I have to go now, take a shower and see if there is lunch left for me.’
‘Okay, call me!’
I removed my lenses and thought to change out of the fashionably ripped pair of jeans which was yet another way I’d thought of getting a rise out of Ma a few months back! It was then that I got my dose of shock for the day as I saw the new pack of condoms in my dresser drawer.
Dammit, Ma! You have GOT to stop doing that! I can very well buy my own. Sheeeesh!
‘Ry, you hungry?’
Ma’s voice had me moving faster, slipping into the pair of shorts and the T shirt that I’d left on the bed in the morning, which had miraculously (or not) found their way to the hooks behind my door.
‘Yeah, be right there, Ma.’
As I made my way into the kitchen, I saw her setting the table for two.
‘Need help?’ I said, getting a bottle of water out of the fridge.
‘Naah. Just sit. This won’t take a second.’ She smiled at me as if it was just another day. Although, I did see her eye flick towards my blue hair and my eye brow.
It wasn’t as if her voice was chiding, what had me more nervous is that I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what was going on in her head.
‘How was the tour?’ I asked. Trying to make normal conversation.
‘Tiring!’ she sighed, ‘As always.’
‘Oh?’ It was so unlike her to stop at that. She was a talker. No, she was the talker of the family. You just give her an opening and she won’t stop talking till someone stopped her.
She shrugged. Honestly, it freaked me out a little. How bad was my standing?
Dad, I could deal with. But Ma... I wondered if I’d overstepped her boundaries by doing something that is out of character for me in the first place.
She placed my plate in front of me and sat across the table with hers. The way her always smiling lips were pursed, and her eyes bored into me, made me fidget even more.
‘Eat!’ she said, shaking her head.
I couldn’t help stealing glances at the quiet figure in front of me. She was openly staring at my hair now. Seemed to me she was thinking where her scissors were. Or maybe the razor?
Naaah, if it was that bad, I could just re-dye it black. But, I did want to see how she would react.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. Ten minutes of silence in our house was unheard of.
‘Hmmm?’ She seemed far away in her thoughts somewhere. Although it looked like her eyes were on my hair, her mind could be anywhere, and from the looks of it, so it was.
‘What are you thinking?’
She just shook her head!
‘Say something! Anything!’
‘Huh? About what?’ she seemed... distracted, confused even.
‘The giant elephant in the room, Ma!’ I said pointing at my hair.
‘It’s just...’ she pointed at my head with her fork. ‘I was thinking...’