Everyone says Helen’s ‘quirky’. Some say crazy. Her clothes too bold and her make up too bright.
But her hats. My God, her hats.
They’re the last straw in the colourful monstrosity. Worse yet, she makes them by hand. Stitch after stitch, long after midnight she sews her next glorious creation adding feathers, bows and ribbons until it would look more in place sitting on the head of the Mad Hatter. Madness indeed.
Helen doesn’t care. She’s not making them for their judgement or pleasure.
This time it’s a top hat. She’s pricks her fingers eight times, letting the blood paint the white hat in between the thirteen green and pink bows. She whispers to it. Singing lovingly. Praying. Begging. Just like the Hatmaker said.
One last stitch.
It’s perfect. This time for sure.
People get out of her way on the street. Don’t let her touch you. Look at that crazy girl. Has she even seen a mirror? The smile makes it all the worse for them. She’s done it! When she starts hearing them criticise her shoes at the underground station, she takes the hat off.
Helen buzzes his apartment from downstairs like a child ringing from Santa.
He answers breathless. “Hello?”
“Let me up,” She says.
White noise over the intercom. He’s thinking. Trying to escape. Hissing at someone in the apartment while he covers the phone, thinking she can’t hear. “Eh, ok. Hold on.”
She smirks. Holding on tightly to the hat on her head again, she sprints up the stairs.
“Hello darling,” She says when he opens the door. He’s not smiling like she is. Doesn’t know what’s coming. She wraps her arms around him, making sure not to let the hat drop.
“Hi babe. What are you doing here?” He pries her off him, stopping just shy of pushing her out the door.
She shrugs. “Just came for a visit.”
His jaw tightens. Visit? I’ve got a naked woman hiding in the shower and you want to visit now?
His lips never moved but the truth spilled out.
She smiles and tips her hat. Her hideous, wonderful hat. “Can I use your bathroom?”