A Person I Know Well…

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.

14 thoughts on “A Person I Know Well…

  1. How wonderful. I love the contrast between the way the teenager thinks and the mother observes. I particularly love the way the mother notices all the typical behaviours of a growing child yet knows that she still gets her daughter back at the end of it all.


  2. Quite a lovely piece you’ve written from that prompt. Laughed at image of daughter texting from bus stop. My friend’s daughter usually texts from her room such things as, “Is dinner ready yet?” 🙂


    • Funnily enough we comunicate really well by text as there is no misunderstanding. It’s almost the opposite of what it’s like with everyone else. Tone of voice is usually significant, but with teenagers it is best ignored! They can sound grumpy or sarcastic when they don’t mean to.


  3. I really connected with this, as I have a slightly younger version and I can see the amazing transformation unfolding day by day. You conveyed an emotional slice of life beautifully. The “white-knickled grip on the reins” and “give a different answer” really resonates with me. And thanks for reminding me to a keep close hold on the joys, as well as my sanity. Jacky


    • Thanks Jacky. Amazing how they can make you the most proud and the most frustrated all in the same day. I get quite emotional reading it back.


  4. Lovely Rachel. My eight year old decided she needed to wear her hood up today, because it looks cool. Yesterday I found her lokking under her armpits to see if she had ‘any teenager’s hairs’ yet.


  5. Rachel, I’ve just discovered your blog. Can’t remember how I got here, but very glad I did. I love the poetry of ‘she drew horses and she drew horses and she drew horses. She drew horses until she could draw horses that looked like horses.’ You really capture the obsession that kids can have with one thing. I’m not a parent, but see this in my nephews.
    I recently discovered flash fiction. Looking forward to having as many comments as you!


    • Thank you Flying Scribbler. I’ve just popped over to your blog. I’m sure you’ve had lots of writing inspiriation!


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