I love you, God— you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.
Psalm 18: 1 – 2 The Message (MSG)
Mother partitioned my hair into small sections, and began to wrap each section with the rubber**. The rubber made a ‘wayo’ sound like the sound of a cane when you beat the air with it each time my mother brought the rubber round the hair. My head bounced on my neck with each movement mother made. The mirror was as big as my 2B note. Mother put it on the stool and let it lean against the wall. Mother was in a hurry. She grabbed the rubber from my hands. She picked two and dumped the rest in my lap. While she was trying to make the ends even, I craned my neck to look at myself in the mirror. The sound of mother’s palm on each of my shoulders made me sit still.
‘Will you stop that nonsense?!’ I shrieked in pain. ‘Will you keep quiet!’ I put my hand over my mouth but the tears still kept on coming. My face looked very funny. ‘You will still cut your hair! You will see!’
I sat still. I still caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My shoulders still stung from the slaps. Mother turned my head suddenly. I remembered the doll Uncle Sam sent from South Africa. My dog chewed it and broke the neck. That’s how I looked with my head hanging like that of the doll. I could see the mirror clearly. I saw my head bounce on my neck. I giggled because it was very funny. I saw mother smile. I laughed even harder.
… … … …
The alarm goes off. It is 5:00am, but I have to be out of the house before six. My head is banging. I have barely slept for three hours. I struggle with my decision. I need more sleep, but I also need to get some things done. I get out of bed. I feel my way to the bathroom. I put on the lights in the bathroom. My eyes have a hard time adjusting until I see my reflection in the mirror. I touch the mole just above my upper lip with my right forefinger. That’s when he pops into the mirror. My heart is beating very fast. I whisper, ‘this is not real’. I hear Toni’s voice, ‘You need to get rid of all the mirrors’. I shake my head and glare at him – he is not real. I say what I always tell Toni when she voices her concern, ‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You’*. Then when I pick up my toothbrush, he begins to laugh. That’s when I start, ‘I love you Lord; You are my strength…
*Isaiah 26:3 NLT
** The rubber is used to wrap hair like the yarns used for faux locs. It is elastic and stretchy but is not thread or wool. But it is used in Nigeria to make hair for young children, or should I say used. It is not very popular now. Wool is more in vogue.