I have a photo of her riding a horse before she began using hair-straighteners; a white-knuckled grip on the reins as they take a jump together. In those days, she drew horses and she drew horses and she drew horses. She drew horses until she could draw horses that looked like horses; from the first time she picked up a pencil until the first time she picked up a rock music magazine. Now she draws musicians, goes to their concerts and they autograph her drawings in admiration. Now her hands don’t grip reins, they spend hours controlling her hair and dancing over the strings of a guitar or the keys of her netbook.
She never returns my tweezers or my scissors and when I go to find them, her room looks like it’s been burgled. She sends me texts from the school bus to say ‘By the way, I’ve got a boyfriend…’ ‘My school report is on my desk…’ ‘I’ll be late home tonight.’
If you ask her, ‘Did you turn off your hair straighteners?’ she will always reply, ‘Yes,’ but the red light and the plug in the socket give a different answer.
If you ask her, ‘ Do you have any homework?’ she will reply, ‘No,’ but then her school report gives us a different answer.
Father’s Day came and went without a card or present while she moshed, mingled and burnt her skin in the June sunshine at a music festival and served cream teas to holiday-makers to earn money to buy more clothes.
She thinks about gigs, freedom and where she will go to university but when she forgets to eat properly, forgets to sleep properly, she lets me feed her, kiss her goodnight and send her to bed.
Inspired by the ten-minute writing exercise in last quarter’s Leaf Writers’ Magazine (which is fab and glossy!) to write about someone you know well without using adjectives, adverbs or abstract nouns to describe them.