Write a story about the images on a roll of film. 10 mins later:
It was like looking at someone else’s life. The face in the photo was my own. The hair was blue. I cringed. I stroked my hair. The hair was soft. It had clearly survived the ordeal of being bleached and coloured to achieve the sky blue.
“You had to be different,” my mother sighed.
“How did I get away with this?”
“You didn’t. I was out at work and come home to, well …”
“How old was I?”
“14.” She could sense I needed more, like all mothers do. “It was the first day of the summer holidays, I let you keep it.”
“Because you would clean the bathrooms. That was the deal. You had to colour it every week to keep it like that.”
“Every week. But I let you keep it as long as you kept our very white bathroom clean. And you did. You even bought a special black towel because mine were lime green.”
“Was I a good girl?” I was scared of the answer.
“You had your moments. You were very good at negotiating. If you wanted something, you laid it out rationally. You bargained. When you wanted your belly button pierced, I said 16, you said 15. I was quite firm. 16. Your birthday 15th was getting close and other than books, you didn’t know what wanted. We compromised 15. And that’s how I got you to clean the downstairs bathroom once a week for a year.”
I began to play with my belly button. There wasn’t anything thing there but the action felt natural. Like it was something I did out of habit.
“Do I have to clean the bathrooms now?” glancing down at my hospital gown, as if she needed reminding.
“Of course,” she smiled. “Once you’re better.”
“What else do I have to clean?”
“Let’s see, nose was taking the rubbish out. Upper ear was walking the dog on Sundays. You got your tongue done in secret but that was hovering duties. You complete lost your Sundays to cleaning and chores but it made you so happy. I’d never seen you so happy. Like you skin finally fit.”