TITLE: The Sacrifice
By Janice Cartwright
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I stood watching from the kitchen door, knowing I wanted no part of it. Mother was gathering materials to wash my hair. Like a pet wary of a bath I knew the routine, and arrayed myself to resist.
She placed a clean, white, folded towel on the drainboard, opened the cabinet door and took out the shampoo bottle and set it down. The liquid inside was pearly green and on the outside were letters I understood: P-R-E-L-L.
I had asked Mother once to use HALO, certain it had power to produce shiny ringlets like Sydney’s, the prettiest girl in class at school. But she told me it was ‘too high.’
Before she could open her mouth and say, “C'mon honey, let’s get that dirty head scrubbed,” I started to whimper and edge away. She glided over and swirled me up.
“It hurts!” I was well into waterworks now, and kicking.
“Oh, it doesn’t hurt that much!” Now she was transporting me across the room.
“Yes, it does, it pulls! Your fingernails scra-a-a-atch!” I struggled but not too violently as I was under authority.
I tobogganed from her grasp onto the drainboard by the sink. My bottom made contact with the cold counter-top; my legs flopped against the wood door beneath.
She pushed my head back, “No!!” and stretched me out, “Puleeze!!”
Lamb for the slaughter.
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