One A Day: Delayed (Continued…again)

Delayed (Continued, again.)

“Kell?” I knock on the plywood door. I reckon I could kick it down dead easy if I needed to. “Your Mam said you’ve been in there for ages. What are you doing?” I scratch away some flaky paint on the door frame. Some gets trapped under my fingernail. It fucking hurts but it’s not the time to be worried about that.

“You can’t come in.” There’s a massive pile of washing on the landing and a few dirty plates and cups. Kell’s mam apologised for the mess when I came in. They’ve been busy getting new locks fitted on the doors and a security camera installed outside. Cleaning, usually Kell’s Mam’s area of expertise has taken a backseat since the bottling. They haven’t got the cash for this new flashy stuff, but debts are nothing when compared to their youngest daughter’s safety.

“Is this about your face? Is it giving you grief, babe? Don’t you have any antibiotics left or that cream the doctor gave you?”

“It’s not about my fucking face!”

“I’m worried babe. Your Mam is getting worried. She thinks you might be hurting yourself. You’re not, are you?” I hear something steel clatter against the sink. Fuck. She is. I need to get in that bastard room.

“I think I’ve had enough of being hurt these past couple of months, don’t you?”

“Babe, let me in. Please. I know you’ve had a tough time. That’s why I’m here.” Slowly the door handle turns. I don’t grab it and rip the door open. I let her do it in her own time. Kell has a towel wrapped around her head in a turban. She’s hunched over, dressed in her nightie, the one with Tweety Pie on the front. The bathroom smells of the new mango shower gel I’ve smelt on her neck and breasts when she’s let me cuddle her. I look around the bathroom for a razor and tell tale drips of blood, and then I see, in the sink, fistfuls of hair. I slowly pull the turban down. What’s left of her hair is in tufts. “Babe, what the hell?”

“I want to change. I don’t want him to be able to recognise me when I go out. I needed a different look.”

“Why didn’t you go to the hairdressers? I would have come with you. You never have to go anywhere on your own, you know that.”

“I didn’t want to leave the house until I’d done it. How does it look? I haven’t dared look in the mirror yet.”

“It looks like you’ve hacked at it with scissors with your eyes closed. Why are you letting that prick take over your life?”

“In case you haven’t noticed.” Kell jabs her cheeks. The stitches came out a few days ago. “Because he’ll do something like this again, or worse. I want to change the way I look. I want to start dressing like you and Dan and his lass do. Well, maybe not all the nipple tassels and all that.” I want to laugh but it would be a bastard thing to do.

“Why babe? You’re perfect the way you are.”

“Have you ever had a glass smashed in your face? I’m lucky I’ve only got three scars! I have to change if I want to live. You saw what he was like. I want you to take me shopping to the places where you get your jeans and shoes and stuff.”

“Babe, you don’t skate or anything.”

“I don’t need to.”

“This is weird.”

“I’m going to shave my head, start over.” She has enough hair that she can make cute little curls with it.

“Don’t. Please. We’ll get your Mam up here and sort it out. She does hair, doesn’t she? She was doing your sister’s the other night.”

“If Mam sorts it out, then I’m going to dye it.” I study her face. She’s been so strong since the bastard bottled her. Maybe I should just let her do what she wants, if it helps her to step out of the house without feeling afraid.