They say that I have Schizophrenia. Delusions. Demented dreams that detach me from reality.
In my culture, there is no such thing. You are either bewitched or you are blessed. Ensnared by sinister or sacred spirits.
He looks at me like I am a stray dog. Filthy. Rabid. Foaming at the mouth. He has decided that I am mad. “Unhinged” he says. This old Caucasian man they call an expert. He tells them to cut my hair. To make me presentable. Of course, he can’t understand. Won’t comprehend that my hair talks to my ancestors. A multitude of voices writhing from my head. A supernatural message in every twisted strand.
His thinning wisps of limp blonde hair lie flat against his head in shame. He cannot hear the voices from the Great Beyond. My hair stands at attention. Poised and ready to receive orders. Ten thousand antennas so I don’t miss a word.
I gnash my teeth at the orderlies who dare to touch a sacred vessel. “It is my hair. My birthright!”
For better and for worse, my gift and my curse.
Post image by raymondclarkeimages via Flickr
About the Author:
Tendai Machingaidze was born in 1982 in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds degrees from Syracuse University and Southwestern Seminary. Her short stories have been published by Weaver Press Zimbabwe, Africa Book Club, Munyori Literary Journal, The Kalahari Review, Open Road Review, and Lawino. Tendai’s debut novel, “Acacia,” was published by African Perspectives Publishing in 2014.
COMMENTS ( 6 ) -
Fearless Flash Fiction – A Reading List – Barbara Byar April 12, 2022 15:54
[…] My Hair Talks to my Ancestry, Tendai Machin Gaidze: https://brittlepaper.com/2015/09/hair-talks-ancestors-tendai-machingaidze/ […]
MY HAIR TALKS TO MY ANCESTORS – Nthanda Review May 10, 2017 16:15
[…] Originally published here: http://brittlepaper.com/2015/09/hair-talks-ancestors-tendai-machingaidze#sthash.KbLta4A6.dpuf […]
Ezeani Chucks January 14, 2016 13:42
Wow. Permit me to say that again. Wow. Just wow. I could read this a million times and it'd appear fresh with each read.
Iheme Nzube November 12, 2015 14:45
Tendai, you got me stood on attention. But I have this to say to you: "In my culture, there is no such thing. You are either bewitched or..."
Chimnomso October 13, 2015 01:19
Eugene Odogwu September 28, 2015 04:00
Stories like this enhance my appreciation for Flash fiction. The ability to tell a whole tale in just a few words, akin to paintings, leaves me with equal parts envy and awe. Now the story! Amazing. The possibilities, the implications... I would definitely love to explore the world of this story more. Ten thousand antennas? I can only imagine the kinds of messages being received.