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She is a shining asteroid with purple-streaked hair and she scares me.

“It’s just hair. Would you relax?” my husband says.

Joe Conservative tells me to relax. He’s the hyper-parent. That’s been his role all these years. “Why isn’t she taking German? Why’d she go with Spanish? Everybody takes Spanish — that’s the easy one. German, that’s the one to take. That impresses the Ivies.”

When our señorita decides to dye her hair, he’s cool. Him. Mr. Brief Case and wingtips. While Mama 100% cotton skirts and sandals freaks. What is happening to me? I’m not a judgmental bitch. I’m not a stifle-her-creativity mother. But this girl, this fourteen year old with purple streaks in her hair, I used to know her. I was the sun in her sky. I made Disney princess birthday cakes for this stranger. I let her have sleepovers with as many giggly friends as she wanted.

She avoids me now. A purple lock dangles in her eyes. Her one-eyed gaze challenges, do it. Go ahead, mother dearest. Just do it. Tell me to wipe it off my face and see what happens.

I smile. Oh, I won’t take the dare. I will vanquish this stranger with kindness. Somehow my girl – my sweet, shiny asteroid – will return. She will gain confidence in herself and wash that ridiculous purple out of her sandy brown hair. She will leave for school in the morning after kissing me good-by, hollering “Later, Mom,” as she runs for the bus.

And I will see all the different versions of her I’ve known hurrying away, on her own orbit.


Pam Parker’s short stories, essays and radio essays have won awards from the Wisconsin Broadcaster’s Association, the Wisconsin Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Wisconsin Writers Association, but at the moment, she is living in Glasgow, Scotland, not Wisconsin, USA. Along with Kathy Lanzarotti, she is compiling and editing Done Darkness, an anthology of writings about life during and beyond sadness. Links to some of her work can be found at

© 2015, Pam Parker

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