Gossip

by OWAIN GLYN EVANS

When she was younger she took her mother’s nail scissors out of the dresser and cut off all her eyelashes. Her mother was devastated, naturally. The neighbours had always wondered about her daughter, as did I, and she grew paranoid. People don’t like little girls with stains on their knees. I once passed the garden to see six naked, shaved dolls stuck in the mud. There was a seventh, headless. Neutral smooth areas losing definition. Dirty fingernails are otherwise harmless, but that wasn’t. There was something more in that. You could tell her mother had lost it. The day her daughter stepped out of that house, with naked eyelids flaunting themselves to a fig-covered world, her mother stopped going outside. I saw her only once after that morning. She was smoking on the porch; two fading eyes hiding behind a red cigarette, just a smoky haze. The whole family was a blur. Transgression was a second nature; sugar and spice, and all things spliced. Smoking couldn’t have helped. Or maybe it did. But it wasn’t her body she worried for. You see, the body is a dangerous thing; everybody’s different, but ultimately there are only two kinds. Her daughter knew that. She was seven, but she knew that. Her mother died soon after her spirit did. I’m not sure how. Closed doors are powerful things, even for me. As for her daughter, she grew up, joined the football team, learned to drive, and was in and out of hospital. I think he works at the Post Office now.

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