Feathers From the Sky(5)

By: Posy Roberts



In the bathroom, I stripped, neatly folding my clothes and setting them aside so I wouldn’t turn them colors not intended for shirts and jeans. I already had purple hair, but there was more of my pale blond growing out than there was purple left on the ends. I was using blue this time. Philip loved when I used the dark blue on my hair. He said it made my eyes more noticeable, which meant he stared a lot more. That almost always led to kissing, which I was all for.

After putting gloves on, I started working the dye into my hair. For a half a minute, I considered leaving a little section of blond between the purple and the blue, but the way the dye bled, I knew it would just end up light blue and looking like shit.

After tugging off my gloves and throwing them in the trash, I sat on the closed toilet lid and started thumbing through an old photography magazine while the color set.

It was kind of crazy that I was doing this for Philip’s arrival. I’d seen him a week ago with my hair looking blond and purple, but I wanted to do something that would make him happy. The way my stomach felt when I thought of him, it was as if I hadn’t seen in him ages.

I knew why I was really worried. I was finally going to be truthful with my parents about us. After all the questions my cousins, grandparents, and even siblings had asked in recent days about a girlfriend, I was ready to stop lying.

Philip deserved to no longer be hidden away in a fake bedroom upstairs that was really our office. But I was nervous as hell.

My parents were considered liberal for the part of the state they lived in. Dad was a professor at a university less than an hour away, so people in town referred to him as the liberal professor. They hadn’t freaked when I told them I was bisexual or when they got a call from the police when Corey had been caught possessing pot, but this would be different.

Mom and Dad thought a lot about carrying on the family bloodline. That’s why they had so many stinking kids. When I was younger and new friends would first find out how many people were in my family, they just automatically assumed we were Catholic and that my mom refused to use birth control. We were Lutheran. She had used the pill to space us kids out more (I’d been with her when she got it at the pharmacy), but they’d both always wanted a large family. I guess Mom and Dad’s attempts at birth control didn’t always work. Considering how often I’d heard their mattress squeaking while I still lived at home, maybe the statistics just worked out according to the failure rate of the pill.

But I wasn’t going to be having any babies with Philip. Neither of us wanted kids. That would hurt my parents so much to know that no grandchildren would be coming from me, especially after all the times my mom had told me, “You’ll make such a wonderful father. You’re a natural caregiver who will be there for your children during their greatest struggles.”

Anytime I had even hinted to my parents about not having kids, I’d been told I would eventually change my mind. I didn’t want to change my mind. I wanted to travel with Philip and take photographs of exotic places and sell enough of them that I could start doing more of the work I preferred. Body forms. Nudes. I already made enough money with my portrait photography to support myself. But if I wanted to travel and really live the life Philip and I talked about having, I needed to be upfront and honest with my parents. Otherwise they’d never understand why I was traipsing all over the world with my roommate; landscape photography wasn’t a good enough excuse when I made my living photographing people. It would never make sense to them.

“Hurry up!” Jackson yelled through the door. Still living at home, he wasn’t used to just waiting his turn. “I gotta pee.”

“Give me a half minute to get in the shower,” I said as I tested my color and then unlocked the door. Even before I could get the shower curtain shut behind me, he was opening the door. Bathroom time was sacred everywhere else but my parent’s house.

“God! It stinks in here. What are you doing?” he said as he started pissing, and I turned the shower on.

“I’m dyeing my hair. Well, rinsing it now.”

“Cool. What color this time?”

“Blue.”

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