The girl with the flaxen hair, by Debussy, was always my favourite track. Not because of the melody; it's not that exciting. No, it was the name. The girl with the flaxen hair. That's what my granddad would call me when I was little.
A teenager once yelled “Oi! Rapunzel” at me as I sashayed down the street, my hair swinging from a high pony tail. Even though it was in an 'up-do', it still reached my shoulder blades. Best piece of street heckling I've ever had.
Now they shout at me for a very different reason. Now they shout because I am ugly.
The chemotherapy has ravaged everything: my nails, once shiny and well-conditioned with hydro-oil by L'Oreal, are now dull and cracked and chipped and pink nail varnish slithers off onto my bed clothes several hours after application.
My eyes, once bright and with twenty/twenty vision, are now red and dry and itchy to the point that my greatest pleasure is to rub and scratch, like a dog with a bad allergy.
My lips are cracked, like cavernous, pink, fleshy valleys, arid after the worst drought of the year.
But it's my hair that bothers me the most. It's gone. The last remaining strands have been removed. I say 'have been removed'. I almost can't bear to admit that I shaved my head last night. I gave in. I listed the expensive hair products on Gumtree. The hair products I bought last week: one last hope. One last salvation. They'll go to some other pretty airhead. As long as I can leave it all outside and not have to see the locks that will benefit from my vanity.
I'm still the same person, the same, strong, beautiful woman. As Christina Aguilera said: 'I am beautiful, no matter what they say. Words can't bring me down'. I don't agree with the last bit, but I sing it with gusto; it's on repeat on my iPod. Once I brainwash myself enough, maybe I won't see the monster looking back at me in the gold framed mirrors that hang around my home. I feel like the Evil Stepmother. Hurling a chair at the biggest, and most mocking of the set did make me feel better. Until I realised how much it cost.
The love affair is over and I am reduced to my core. Yet that core is strong. Without the veneer, without the pretence, without the gloss and fake eyelashes – I'm still here.
Plus my mum's bought me a wig.
Flash fiction written for East Surrey Creative Writing Workshop - write 500 words about why someone placed a Classified Ad.