Melanie cut Caitlyn’s hair outside in the wind and all the separate bits of it flew into the bushes, into the trees, into the neighbour boy’s garden. We had cackled like sticks underfoot watching the brassy strands, the trash of her, tear across her backyard like Caitlyn was a hurricane, a choking wind, a force to be reckoned with. I saw the neighbour boy with braided bits of it in his pockets on Monday. He took them out, fingered them, while we learnt about integral calculus and copied figures into tiny squares.
We all wanted to be like Caitlyn. Caitlyn who tore from place to place and commanded the attention of strangers, easily, just by moving her body. We watched her and noted the way she did not hide her skin, the way she laughed louder than anyone; these the wild ways in which she did not apologise. She scoffed at the tools we used to make ourselves presentable so we stopped brushing our hair, refused to even when the knots started clumping our heads together. We stopped shaving and let the spikes of us claw through our tights, all sharp-tipped and spire-like. The edges of us blurred as we pooled together our lunch money, our tampons, our clothes. Our ideas rolled over and over our tongues. We talked our thoughts into being so many times we could not remember who they first came from, we talked the thoughts into being so old they felt new again. The whole time we pretended to ignore, but did not ignore, the neighbour boy who stalked around our edges with his hands in his pockets. His hands in Caitlyn’s dead hair.
When Caitlyn leapt over the garden wall we linked hands and listened to the neighbour boy howl.
Under Caitlyn’s belly grew a part neighbour boy, part hurricane. She told us it would be a girl, bigger than all of us because it came from us. We bent our heads forward to hear it gathering strength. It sounded like rustling leaves, it sounded like eolian tones. It was calm before we told everyone.
We felt each others’ stomachs, small and hard in comparison to Caitlyn’s. We could hear the wind whipping under her skin now. We chose her dresses, big and ballooning. The neighbour boy’s parents sent him to the army and slathered new concrete over the parts of the wall that were crumbling down. They wanted Caitlyn to disappear but she would not, not when we were there stood like a circle of salt. We paraded in the streets with bare feet, bare faces. We wild women. Let everyone see us. When the hurricane was born we opened all the windows in Caitlyn’s house and let her wind-cries carry out into the night.
Kelsey Ipsen is a New Zealand born writer who lives in France with her husband and half-wild cat. Her writing can be found or is forthcoming in PANK, Molotov Cocktail, Gone Lawn, Apt and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.cargocollective.com/kelseyipsen