My sister holds scissors to my neck under my grandmother’s apple tree and snips. It’s the summer of ____? I am ____? years old. I hug my knees in the cast-iron chair we have dragged away from the patio into the overgrown grass. It’s too warm for the others, but my sister and I have always loved the heat. Me, thick skin; her, cold-natured. I don’t know when my sister became the family hairdresser, but, in Oklahoma, she is the only one I trust with my chin-length bob.
She snaps at me to sit still, sit even. If my hair is ugly it is my fault. I sing a made-up song about getting my haircut in the garden, and she doesn’t think it’s funny, but eventually laughs at me anyway—willing to make a fool of myself in the sun. I peek over my toes, chin on my knees. Blonde chunks float down on either side of my periphery, sticking to the gooey, fallen apples we didn’t pick in time. I check out my hair in the hand mirror, but what I really see is my sister behind me and the clouds.
Sarah Robbins (she/her) is a writer originally from Oklahoma. She has work in (or forthcoming from) Carte Blanche, Thin Air, The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, and others. She spends her free time sewing and watching reruns of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Follow her on Twitter (@saaraahkate) or Instagram (@tri_saraahtops).