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The process takes hours, but in the beginning my daughter sits in the office chair, and I stand behind her. Next to us is a wooden tray table with a towel spread over top. We populate the tray table with the implements and tools we need. A wide-toothed comb and a slender comb, a soft-bristled brush, the hair oil that smells sweet and will leave my daughter’s scalp scented for days. The foam that appears liquid in its purple-tinted bottle but becomes the consistency of bubble bath when I press the top and dispense some into my palm.
I part my daughter’s hair using the smaller comb to draw a line through the middle of her scalp, the hair dividing into hemispheres, north and south, top and bottom. I secure the lower section with a band. Begin at the top, I think as I add further parts. I lift the strands and commence twisting my daughter’s hair.
Roses - Bobby - Fuchsia - Right - Ends
When I finish, I secure fresh roses into what I’ve created. Bobby pins hold vibrant fuchsia right where I wove together the loose ends of the flat twists and made a crown. She pats the side of her head and rewards my hard work with a hug and a smile.
I did this, I say to myself, in the quiet of my thoughts, as if there is no one else around.
Day - Sits - Living - Room - Floor
Another day, my sister sits on my living room floor, her legs crossed and her arms raised to her head. She brushes her strands and then uses her fingers to section her hair. She begins to weave a single braid that travels the circumference of her head. Waves and curls once spilling far down the length of her back are now assembled in a style that makes me think of solitude.
What my sister just did to...
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