You can brush my hair

I wanted to be friends with Rachel so much that I let her brush my hair until it tugged out. Yellow hair, soft and elastic like if butter had a rind or rays of sunshine were woven. On the floor. In Rachel’s hairbrush. Never mind, she said a lot, feeling the fresh holes in my scalp. It probably tickled which I think is something between laughing and crying. We match, I tried to say, I just need a dress like yours. Do they make them in my size? But it only came out as a smile. My smile is one of my best features. A smile works in every language!

 

Sindy’s smile is upside-down

I couldn’t fully wave at all of the charity shop’s visitors, but I had my left arm raised for a long time. Sindy suggested that I try to climb out of the bucket. She is so much more adventurous than she looks! Someone drew her an upside-down smile in permanent pen. I told her, that’s the right way up for rainbows.

When the artist picked us both, I was glad because the bucket had a floor made of marbles and Sindy lay next to me in his cloth bag. While the artist walked home, it was like a hammock in the wind. We sloshed and knocked shoulders. I wondered if it was warm enough outside to enjoy the breeze.

In the artist’s room, he put on loud tantrum music and rolled us over in his hands, and I was a marble, marble, marble. Then he laid us flat on a table and squeezed clear glue onto Sindy’s left palm. He placed my hand on top of hers and pressed, gentle as a forehead kiss. We’re going to be muses, Sindy said. I know! I told her. I couldn’t wait to hear what muse meant.

 

Even with glue

Before Sindy, I had never really held a hand. Now our arms grow out of each other. It’s nice to not let go. Even with glue. I have told Sindy this many times. And I giggled when I once said, I take you, Sindy, to have and to hold, from this day forward.

She pulls a little on my arm when she wants me to stop. Sometimes she needs me to talk, and she just listens like I am running water.

The window we are inside winks with light. People pause in front of us, staring to the right of us, then at our held hands. What’s it meant to be? They ask. Or, wow, what happened to Barbie? Though I can’t see her, I always know Sindy’s there, frowning right at them.

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Eilise Norris writes flash fiction, poetry and short stories from above a pub in Oxfordshire, UK. She saw a lot of extreme makeover Barbies when she was younger. Her most recent work is in Ellipsis Zine. She tweets from @eilisecnorris.