I remember the sun shining on her spring tight coiled silky rusty red hair. I loved the way the sun bleached the ends of her hair strawberry blond. She hated it, it made her look like she needed her roots doing, or that's what she used to say. I loved the red colour she dyed it, another of my habits she copied. My father was ginger, my mother used to tell me frequently she cried when I was born, sometimes she'd occasionally say it was because all she wanted was a ginger haired little girl.
As a child my hair was long, it reached the back of my knees. heavy and straight. The colour was bright, I was not just ginger, I was orange! Think Chris Evans in his heyday. I hated it as a child, but why wouldn't I? I was a classic victim of bullies, I made it too easy. I was short, fat, wore glasses, ginger and a straight A student. I detested being ginger, so as soon as I was old enough to go in to town with my friends on a Saturday, I saved pocket money and went to the chemist to buy a dye.
I dyed my hair that night at home with my best friend, whilst my mother was out. Obviously, my mother knew we were having a girlie sleepover, hair masks, face masks, etc. But she definitely was not expecting to scene she came home to. Me and my friend stood there, proud of ourselves for the job on my now chestnut brown shiny hair, whilst blocking the entrance to the bathroom so she would not see the room that by now resembled murder scene in a bad teenage Hollywood / slasher movie! I was convinced we only needed five minutes to clean up, seriously how hard could it be to wash a couple of splashes of the walls, floors, bath, and sink.
After all it was a wash in-wash out semi permanent dye. Deliberately chosen in case we messed up and I had to wash my hair ten times before mom got home! However even permanent dye, as I found out later, would wash of a ceramic sink but wash in, does not equal wash off on rugs and porous wall paper. We were like Cinderella that night! Dressed in PJ's and slippers with face packs on scouring the walls and floor! The ultimate contrast to feeling like the princess early in the evening when I had my hair dried and styled by my best friend. We knew my mother would go mental if she saw the mess.
My mother was obsessed with cleanliness to the point of OCD. Her favourite thing in the world appeared to be the Hoover. I'm sure she gave it a pet name, she may as well she engaged with that mechanical sucker more than me. They would dance around the house at least three times a day, although nobody was home and no mess. They had their partnership synced perfectly, she pushed, he pulled, she moved, he sucked. Their staircase embrace was like a cross between and aerobics workout and a ballroom dancing competition. To this day I have never seen someone vacuum so gracefully!
So after cleaning the bathroom to a near perfect spotless rendition of it's former glory we thought we would get away with.
But there's always a bit that catches you out. Our alarm call the blood curdling sound coming from the bathroom, made us both wake with a start. Imagining last night's murder scene imagery may become a reality in the cold light of the day. Well actually I say day, not sure I or any other thirteen year old would call 6am on a Sunday morning day! Rushing into the bathroom we were none too politely greeted with a request for information regarding 'what we thought we were playing at and what the hell was that' and some not too small, life threatening promise about 'it better not have stained'.
Damn what had she spotted, the splash on the corner of the towel, the orange stain on the white plastic window ledge. No, we had escaped those. For now! No we had been given away by the tiniest of red dribbles in the back of the plastic swing top bin. The thing that we thought was going to end our lives was a white plastic swing top bin bought about two years before for less that a fiver!