He held it’s limp form in his outstretched hands. Palm up for all to see, he slowly spun facing the group..
“i have finished. This represents my grief. We are pack.” His voice barely kept together as he spoke, his voice almost breaking. The ponytail in his hand was thick and full. His hair still bore the hacked remnants of its former pride of place.
“Thank you Mike, you’re welcome here. This is a safe space.” Janita smiled affectionately, her tattooed cheeks dancing with the swirl of a dragons tail, still had some crusty residue from the latest coloring work she had had done.
Mike stood a while longer, unwilling or unable to let go, whether to the ponytail or the characters that had been with him for so long. Slowly he turned his palm and the golden creature tumbled into a basket.
There were around 20 of them gathered today, to mark Mikes completion. His journey had ended but he would never forget the path that took him here. Tears flowed freely down his face as he walked back to the circle. Why does this pain feel so good, he thought, and a moments recognition of a song lyric helped to shake him from his reverie.
“Now my Couterie we will come together to help Mike through this time. ‘Here is where we are today, and we can only make our moves from here’.”
The group bowed their heads in the dim light
Suddenly a door swung open throwing daylight into the room. A nasal voice chipped in, “oo its a bit dark in here.” This was followed by a swirling mass of children screaming and running in the chaos of the dark.
Panic ran amoc, as children and Hobbknobbers tumbled into each other. One stray child clattered into the bin, which sent the golden locks of Mikes sacrifice sprawling across the floor, leading to cries of ‘rats on the loose’.
Kendra, quickly swooped down and grabbed the ponytail in the chaos, before someone finally turned the lights back on.
“Sorry we’ve got the hall booked this week, the scout hut has mice funnily enough.” Sandra the nasal voiced scout leader beamed proudly.
Janita and the group looked chagrin and felt a little silly in their beautifully hand crafted garments. The Hobbknobbers were a weekly support group that had been meeting in the town hall, every Tuesday evening to discuss the epic fantasy books of Robin Hobb. The trauma that participants had been through, was very real to them and the group had received several awards from the local health board for their recovery work.
“Ive had enough of this crap”, shouted Jake, his faux wolf skin, wrapped tightly around him. I’m emailing the counci secretary, we’ve had this booking for years.”
“Come now” Janita’s gentle voice calmed him. “Don’t do what you can’t undo, until you’ve considered what you can’t do once you’ve done it.”
“Park it is then,” Kendra said leading the way. Kendra looked almost normal, garbed in a simple linen green dress, with a fox pin.
“Bloody undo them,” Muttered Jake under his breath.
“It’s sunny, it’ll be fine.” Kendra gently coaxed them into the light.
“I can't believe it gone.” Mike said, a while later to noone in particular, as they were getting ready to leave the park. “I've had that for 20 years”.
“Well i know a good trick for sorting your hair out.” Kendra said to him coming up from behind quietly..
“Oh god is it really that bad?”
“Here ya are” She said laughing as she handed him a bobble hat from her pocket.
“Oh good one” Mike smiled and pulled it on. “How do i look?”
“You look good” She said.
“See you next week” Mike said as he headed home.
“See you next week” Kendra replied, before turning away and secretly taking out the ponytail. She stroked it gently, sniffing deeply and whispered. “See you next week, my beloved”.