I sat completely still.
My mother brushed my long hair slowly and carefully, and I closed my eyes to better feel the love in her hands. She said she was going to trim the ends of my hair for me, cut away the dead and old, leaving crisp new edges against which I could cup my palms.
While she brushed, mother told me she had heard on the radio of a new world. That the once powerful landowners had lost their rights when the water came, and now people like us were starting new lives above the water, high up in abandoned buildings. As she spoke, I imagined our life in this new place.
Mother finished talking just as she clipped the last strand of my hair, and I opened my eyes. She put her hands on my shoulders and looked me in the face. Tears troubled her gentle brown eyes. “This new place sounds promising, doesn’t it, child? I will not be there for this part of your life but I know that it will be quite an adventure for you. Now, go.”
I wasn’t sure what she was saying. But then I saw all of my hair, a thick dark mess on the ground – and under my mother, a growing pool of red – and I knew.
I slipped quietly into the dark water near me and sank downward until I had no more mother.