Tangled hair, Mexico © Tanya Clarke 2018

Tangled hair, Mexico © Tanya Clarke 2018

Writing Prompt No. 4

Ivy’s hair hung tangled and limp down her back soaking her top and dripping water onto the floor.

She picked up the towel and squashed the ends in an effort to absorb the moisture. She stood in the water that had pooled on the floor. Her mother took her comb and gripped a length of hair tightly with her left hand. She began to move the teeth of the comb through the knots and tangles as best she could. She picked and pulled at the small nests of hair that gathered at the ends as she pulled the comb through. Her mouth puckered in concentration.

“It needs a good cut.” She said.


“Not much. Just to get these ends off. It’s so knotted and tangled.”

“I want it long.”

Ivy’s mother didn’t reply. She placed her hand on top of her daughter’s head to steady her. The comb began to move more easily down her hair.

“When I was your age, my mother made me have my hair cut. Short, right up to my chin.”

“Did you cry?”

“I kept very quiet and didn’t speak to her for a month.”

Ivy grabbed at her head with her hand to stop her mother pulling.

“Ow! Mum that hurt!”

Her mother was silent once again in a rhythm of gripping and combing and steadying and combing. Ivy dropped her head forwards as her mother combed the now smooth untangled hair down her back.

“I grew it long again after that.” Her mother said, “All the way down to my waist. She hated it, my mother. Hair is such a personal thing.”

Please do share your own stories in the comments below.