Cinderella at Midnight


She knelt down on the tiled white floor of her son's bathroom and picked up a small black pin, crimped on one side, flat on the other, a girl's hairpin.  As she stood back up with it in her hand she curved her hair out of her face and around one ear, as women who stand up without the aid of hairpins do.  She looked at the pin, with a towel wrapped over one shoulder and a cleaning bucket in her hand, the bucket swaying.  She is picturing reasons that hairpins come out girls' hair in bathrooms, in this bathroom, she is picturing blonde hair resplendent and spinning, because there is blond hair leafed intermittently on the floor, barely noticeable, and she is picturing bright lip gloss on buxom little lips, talking and other things—smudged on the water-bottle next to the sink, which she threw away, but wanted to keep for some reason, she is picturing her son's hands on a happy girl's back, she is remembering that she used to be the type of girl who once wore hairpins and took them out at the appropriate times, she is smiling and approving of her son and whomever his women are.
      She set the hairpin down on the sink; her son would have noticed it there, if he was still home for his short stay, he would see that she had moved it, that it hadn't been there before and maybe he would know that his mother understood the things he did.  A small note he would never read, but one she hoped he had read before.
      She opened the sliding glass door of the shower with her toweled hand and when she looked inside she had to cover her mouth, holding laughter—in the shower on the floor there were feet prints, of two different sizes, in a gyring collage of dark on white.  She would buy hairpins for herself and wear them now, so that she wouldn't have to curve her hair out of the way when she stood up, or like now, as she hooked one foot over the tub's edge, and prepared to clean her son's shower.  
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