Olga ran her hand through her 2cm long hair, shocked that she’d actually gone ahead with what must seem a crazy idea. It really was a buzz cut. She had wanted a change. She had needed it. She wanted to reclaim who she’d been once. Not since that evening. She hated the feelings: the helplessness, the fear, the pain. She needed to decide something. She’d gone to her parents’ place knowing they weren’t here and using her brother’s clipper, she’d shaved her head.
Some would say it was drastic… it wasn’t really. Hair grew back. It was weird though not to have her long locks not frame her pale face. She didn’t look like herself anymore. Good that was the entire point. A face, a fence against the others, that they might not want to linger too long.
She grabbed her sister’s make-up; Anastasia was still in her Goth phase. That suited. She wasn’t particularly great with brushes and stuff but she knew how to apply foundation and some basic eyeliner and stuff. She did a bit of contouring. She looked even paler than she usually did. That would do. She changed and after putting a cap on, she left the apartment locking it behind her so they wouldn’t know she’d been here.
Walking to the subway, comments followed her, totally different from those she’d heard only an hour and a half before.
“Hey look at the Dyke.”
She’d known it could happen. She hoped it would. Prejudice could be a protection against fear: a fence of its own. She knew it was wrong to use it that way: but she didn’t know what else to do. But other comments weren’t reassuring. She should have known the neighborhood would be like that.
“Hi honey, you don’t look half as ugly as some. Let me turn you straight Babe.”
After that, she’d run to the subway and rushed home. Maybe the haircut wasn’t such a good idea after all. But she’d needed the change. A tattoo was out of the question; so was a piercing. What else was there for her to try and turn the page? When she arrived at her apartment, Shelly was there with her boyfriend. She’d hoped he wouldn’t be here. But there was nothing to it. She almost made it to her bedroom before they saw her.
“What the fuck Olga!” Shelly said. “What did you do to your hair? It was gorgeous. Why would you do that?”
“You really went the Goth Dyke way here.”
“Fuck you Fred!” She said, spat really.
“Hey, what’s wrong with you?” Shelly said.
“Nothing.” She took a deep breath. It wasn’t Shelly’s fault. She couldn’t have known. “I needed a change.”
“Well no guy will look at you when you look like that.” Her despicable boyfriend sneered.
“What’s up with you two? Fred, you’re mean. Olga…”
“You’re roommate is a stuck up bitch, and a Lesbos to boot apparently.”
“Fred, that’s fucking nasty. Why would you say that? What are you two fencing about? You usually go along well. What’s going on?”
“Well, your boyfriend’s been trying to get into my pants for months now. And since he couldn’t do it when I was sober, he spiked my drink last month at the Alpha Pi party.”
“What? In her dreams! Babe I would never cheat on you. She’s just wishing for it.”
The snake had venom for sure. She’d known that. And Shelly tended to believe anything he said. She hadn’t believed Jessica when she told him Fred kissed her. But Olga was done being afraid; she’d been terrified every time he was in the house. She’d pretended she didn’t remember what happened that night. But she did. And she wasn’t going to let him threaten her.
“I’ve got a video asshole. You and your friends are going down.”
“If you think your GI Jane buzz cut is frightening me bitch, you’re in for a surprise.”
He approached her threateningly. He didn’t understand. She’d already gone to the police with it.
“Touch me and you’ll get another assault charge on your file. The only reason you’re not arrested yet is because you’re here and the police went to your parents’ first.”
“I don’t believe you.”
His hand was around her throat before she could stop it. Well the buzz cut definitely wasn’t going to fence that. She tried to pry his fingers off her but she couldn’t. It was getting hard to breathe. She was hearing Shelly’s cries; she too attempted to stop her boyfriend but he pushed her back. Her head hit the table; Olga heard a crack. Oh no! Shelly! Fuck! What had she done? Stars appeared in her vision.
“You should have shut up bitch.”
He snarled. Or maybe he screamed. Olga didn’t know anymore; she could barely breathe or hear. Darkness gathered around her. She knew she was still breathing but barely. Suddenly a commotion and she was let go. Someone held her but she flinched away.
“It’s alright Miss Volkova. It’s Officer Green. We spoke yesterday.”
“Shelly?” She rasped.
“A nasty bump to the head but she’ll be ok.” That was good. “Care to tell me why the haircut?”
She snorted derisively.
“A decision. My first since that night.”
“Not true. You came to see us. That was a big decision.”
It was. She hadn’t realized that.
“I thought… I was delusional. I hoped it would protect me, you know, like a fence around the house.”
“It didn’t. My mom will hate me for cutting it.”
“It’ll grow back. And to be honest, it suits you. Not the make-up but the hair, yes.”
She smiled. Maybe not a bad idea after all.
In response to the Daily Post writing prompt Fence