She shut her eyes tight.
She’d been warned it would hurt the first time.
“After that it should get better”
“Yea, it depends on how long you can take it.”
“If you’re lucky, you’ll get ‘A’. Then it’ll be quick… no blisters or burns…”
Sitting in the warm dusty room, she felt a cool trail of sweat trickle down her leg.
“Great, now it’ll hurt even more”
She felt someone enter the room. She looked up, looked away.
It was how they got to you in the end. The waiting, the agonising suspense. The indignity (she sniffed) of having to strip almost naked.
And then the pain.
She opened her eyes and checked for an identification of some sort.
She hoped it was ‘A’.
The woman chuckled. It was a mean laugh.
She was tall hefty, and had a strong, dark arms. Watching her, our little girl saw a muscle twitch under her skin.
“It practically rippled!”
She shut her eyes again, and blindly followed instructions. She wondered if her best friend had fought the first time. She seemed the type who would. Confident, with wild curls and a stubborn chin. Maybe…
And then there was pain.
Hot burning pain, that made her flinch and clench her fists.
Over and over again, she felt like her skin was being ripped off her body, one limb at a time.
She would hold strong, she wouldn’t cry. To show weakness now, would be to admit defeat.
And to admit defeat…
…would be to admit that her mother was right.
She walked out, her skin still a little red.
Her mother looked up with a patient smile, put down her magazine and picked up her purse.
“I still think you’re a little too young to be going to the parlour.”
They paid at the reception (to the over-smiling lady with the bright white eye-shadow) and walked out of the parlour.
She turned back.
And saw an upstairs curtain twitch.
‘A’ was watching her. Waiting…
She would be back.