Sukie - Hair of Plangent ColorFriday, August 14, 2015
Sukie sprinkled powdered nutmeg on the circular glass of her hand mirror until there was nothing left of the image but the gold-freckled green eyes or, when she finally moved her head, her monkeyish and overlipsticked lips. With these lips she recited in a solemn whisper seven times the obscene and sacred prayer to Cernunnos.
Sukie undressed, first slipping off her low-heeled square toed shoes, and then removing the hunting jacket, and then pushing the untied suede skirt down over her hips, and then unbuttoning the silk blouse of palest beige, the tint of an engraved invitation, and pushing down her half-slip, the pink brown of a tea rose, and her white panties with it, and lastly uncoupling her bra and leaning forward with extended arms so the two emptied cups fell down her arms and into her hands, lightly; her exposed breasts swayed outward with this motion. Sukie’s breasts were small enough to keep firm in air, rounded cones whose tips had been dipped in a deeper pink without there being any aggressive jut of buttonlike nipple. Her body seemed a flame, a flame of soft white fire to Alexandra, who watched as Sukie calmly stooped to pick up her underthings up from the floor and drop them into the chair that was like a shadow materialized and them matter-of- factly rummaged in her big loose flapped pocketbook for some pins to put up her hair of that pale yet plangent color called red but that lies between apricot and the heart of yew wood. Her hair was this color wherever it was, and her pinning gesture bared the two tufts, double in shape like two moths alighted sideways, in her armpits. This was progressive of her, Alexandra and Jane had not yet broken with the patriarchal command to shave laid upon them when they were young and learning to be women. In the Biblical desert women had been made to scrape their armpits with flint; female hair challenged men, and Sukie as the youngest of the witches felt least obliged to trim and temper her natural flourishing.
John Updike, The Witches of Eastwick