Beautiful by Lori Thatcher

 “Don’t cut my hair, Ma. I need to go to a beauty place, pleeeease,” I whined. My mother told me to stop whining, but I kept on—I knew it was a request, not an order.

I talked fast hoping she wouldn’t say we couldn’t afford it. “Janey got a perm and everyone loves her hair. No one likes my hair. I hate my hair.”

“Come here.” She peered at me and I peered back from under my too-long bangs. She fluffed up my straight, shoulder-length brown hair and sighed. “We’ll go tomorrow.”

Tomorrow was Friday and I would have to wait until Monday to show off my beauty-place hair, but I was thrilled!”

Friday at school was two days long. I ran all the way from the bus stop, charging across the stubble in the corn field. Ma met me on the doorstep with her old black pocket-book. We walked to the neighbor’s house and got a ride into town.

The place smelled smoky and there were old men sitting in chairs against the wall, but I was delighted when the man draped me with a black plastic cape. I couldn’t see the mirror, but I watched the hair fall onto the floor and imagined what everyone would say on Monday. I felt special, a trip to town just for me.

Monday morning, my hair was messy, but I combed it all the way to school. I marched into school beaming and everyone smiled at my beautiful hair. When Janey asked me where I got my hair done, I said, “At the beauty place.”

She said it looked like someone had put a bowl on my head. I didn’t care. My Ma hadn’t cut my hair. She took me to a beauty place, and I felt beautiful.

Stormy by Lori Thatcher

Stormy and NicciI wasn’t there when Stormy died.  A friend stood in my place as a veterinarian ended the misery the little horse’s reoccurring laminitis had inflicted upon him.

They had tried hard to save him, yet again, but this time the awful inflammation of blood-vessels between the hoof wall and coffin bone progressed too rapidly to be forestalled by anti-inflammatory meds and days-long ice-water foot baths.

He went to his end calmly but with his ever-present mischief: grabbing a big bite of the green grass that he had been restricted from for so long. Chant, his buddy of many years, and three times his size, waited quietly and looked back only once as he was led alone back to the pasture Continue reading

Hiding by Lori Thatcher

When I heard my father call my name, I froze. I was lying on my back on top of the stored bales of hay next to the outer barn wall where the sun shone through the cracks and sparkled a snowstorm of hay dust. I had been there since I finished my barn chores after school. It was my secret place.

I suppose I was daydreaming, although if you had asked me then, I would have said I was just looking at stuff: the spot-lit dust, the yellow-green hay whose color predicted how it smelled, and the scenes I could see through the thin cracks in the barn wall—like little slices of the world. Continue reading

I’m Done with You, Martha Stewart! Lori Thatcher

          So long, Martha,

            This time I really mean it! I can’t fathom why our affair endured as long as it did. Every one of my recent resolutions has been about simplifying my life and paring down my possessions. The minimalist lifestyle has lured me away, darlin’. I’m trying to be gentle, but I need to tell you I have no room in my life for you.

I know. I know. You have good reasons for not believing me. Every time you show up, I cave in, despite my resolutions. Continue reading

The Forest by Lori Thatcher

“Close your eyes and think of a place where you feel relaxed and safe. You could be lying on a sandy beach or overlooking the Grand Canyon. Choose a place you can see clearly in your mind.”

I closed my eyes. The counselor was guiding me through a relaxation exercise to help me manage anxiety I was feeling during my freshman year of college. I was a high school dropout who began college as an adult with complications: a job, a marriage and a kindergartener in a parent cooperative school. Continue reading