Flash Fiction Challenge: Partings

By following Stevie Preater, I found a neat flash fiction (under 500 words) writing prompt blog that my author friends might enjoy. Check it out.  

Here is my own contribution to the Parting effort. I’m lousy with titles, so if you have any suggestions, comment away!


Her stepmother brushed her hair so hard! Of course, it was tangled – she’d just woken up. Shelly wondered how her hair always looked so perfect when she came out of her room in the morning. Maybe because it was so curly. Shelly secretly wondered if it wasn’t hair at all but maybe a woolen cap, and she just slipped it on her head every morning.

Shelly’s hair was straight. She’d asked a million times if she could cut it. It always got in the way when she was trying to watch a tadpole in the creek, or swinging by her knees from the limb of a tree, or the jungle gym. No, of course not, a girl doesn’t cut her hair.

“A woman’s beauty is in her hair,” she was told. “And it should never be allowed to hang in the face, especially when a face is as pretty as yours is.” Shelly would roll her eyes. “And look at that widow’s peak!” (Whatever that was, thought Shelly).

“At least let me have bangs,” whined Shelly on many occasions.

“And lose that stunning, high forehead? Never! Why, you don’t want to look like a boy, do you?”

Shelly’s best friends were all boys. Why shouldn’t she have hair as easy as theirs?

So the brushing ritual had to be endured every morning, before Shelly even had any cereal. Dang!

But, worst of all were the braids.

First, a severe parting, carved down the middle of her head from stem to stern with the sharpest comb ever invented. Then the tug and pull and twist and yank of the first braid (always the left); “rinse and repeat” on the right.

Shelly went to school every day with a raw-looking red line halving her skull. But she triumphed over her stepmother’s will by the end of the day.

Somewhere around 2PM (sometimes earlier, but always after recess) Shelly’s fine auburn hair slipped its restraints, slim strand by slim strand, and began waving about her head like rays of the setting sun. By the time she rode her bike home, that parting was nothing but a faint signpost among a criss-crossing of alternately loosely held and totally free hanks of hair, and the braids were stumpy, crooked, dwarf-like versions of their former selves.