Severed Head

For the child Ada her father’s head was one of the first things to emerge as a visible external object from a world which until then she had only intuited.  This head was smooth, hairless, oscillating on a pliant neck with nothing to hold it in check but Ada herself who was forever trying to make it her own, hugging it to her to drool over eyeballs, ears and cheekbones. She would pull at the lips to reveal sharp white teeth that sometimes grazed her tender flesh, or squeeze the broad nose which felt like a cushion for tiny hands.

One evening as her father knelt down to lift his little treasure from her playpen, she stretched out her  hands to his face and a sharp little fingernail caught his eyelid and tore the skin up to his eyebrow. Her father yelp and holding her away from him called for her mother. His grasp on her became too tight and she screamed so that her mother rushing into the room feared a catastrophe.

Sometime later when everything was calm, Ada finding comfort in the milky warmth of her mother’s bosom watched her father in the mirror dressing his wound.

Ada’s father’s head seem to evade her for a long time after that, it’s  strange manoeuvrings tormentedw her and she would whine and cry until one day her mother did the sensible thing and bought her a plastic bust the size of her father’s head. Ada knew the difference but she stopped complaining.

Later as a young woman she would imagine this head of her father’s suspended in time and space much like the glass encased frozen head of blood of the contemporary artist Marc Quinn