Angela’s mother smokes weed on the balcony after dark and writes in her notebook. Angela doesn’t know what her mother is writing. It can’t be a parenting book. If it was, it would only have one sentence:
If you do it, they won’t want to.
Angela’s mother drops her off at grandma’s and grandma rolls her eyes. ‘What is that hair tone? You look like Japanese maple.’
Angela sucks at the ends of her plaits, waiting for the argument. She thinks her mother’s hair looks like raw meat. The packet was labelled ‘Riot’. But her mother just laughs and kisses her mother goodbye.
‘Say what you will about that woman,’ Angela’s grandma says. ‘She’s got moxie.’
Angela doesn’t know what moxie is. She also doesn’t know why her mother cares what her hair colour is called. Angela wants to read books. She doesn’t want to riot.
She tugs the elastics from her plaits, breaks them open with her thumb and forefinger. She massages her scalp until her hair is a helix glow of black.
Maybe, Angela thinks, her mother’s parenting book would have another sentence:
If you do it, they won’t have to.