Tying the Boats
by Amanda O’Callaghan
A week after she married him, she cut her hair. The scissors made a hungry sound working their way through the curls.
“You cut your hair,” he said, when he came home. Nothing more.
She thought he might have said, “You cut off your beautiful hair,” but his mouth could not make the shape of beautiful, even then.
She kept the hair in a drawer. A great hank of it, bound together in two places with ribbon almost the same dark red. Sometimes, when she was searching in the big oak chest that she brought from home, she’d see it stretched against the back of the drawer, flattened into the joinery like a sleek, cowering animal.
Once, she lifted it out, held it up to the light to catch the last of its fading lustre. She weighed it in her hands. The hair was thick, substantial, heavy as the ropes they’d used when she was a girl, tying the boats when storms were coming.