Using her index finger, Sparkle pulled the skin taunt around her left eye, trying to see how she’d look if the area was smooth once more.
She’s spent her youth swearing she’d never go the way of The Establishment; that fixation on youth and the status quo. She’d never married the fathers of any of her children; Seagull, Creek nor Bishop. Later, she was shocked when they changed their names to Rose, Henry and Bob and became a stock market broker, a teacher and an engineer, respectively. It was too much for her to watch them happily blend in with the rest of the bourgeois. After all, she’d raised them to be free thinkers, to love nature, to find the commune a way of life...lessons they gladly abandoned as soon as they started high school. By college, they were far away from her way of thinking and living, and it was with a sigh of relief they all parted ways.
Sparkle had been swept up in that last wave of hippidom...she grew up in a time when protesting was a way of life, free love a way to live, rebellion something you strived to help accomplish. Her generation remembered Laugh-In and the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate and read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time soon after it was published. She’d started life with the name Susan in Cleveland, and became Sparkle in 1978, when she ran away to San Francisco, too late to catch the full impact of the Haight/Ashbury crowd, but in time to catch crabs from a guy who told her he’d once slept with Joplin. He took her virginity, leaving her with the aforementioned crabs and a ruby ring, that she later pawned to buy a bus ticket to Oregon, to live with a group there who were still searching for love, happiness and a way to live without working.
It was there she had her children in a teepee, letting them run naked with others of their age. She gave them names that linked them to an event in her life, names that set them apart from the children they met in public school, where all of the group's children were forced to go by Social Services. That started them on the road away from the place they lived; set them to yearning to be seen as ‘normal’. The status quo became their Holy Grail.
Time passed, people changed, the group disbanded, and Sparkle found herself living in a trailer park in Yuma, Arizona with a man named Grey whom she’d met in a biker bar in Phoenix. They stayed in the life of hipnoids--those people who never really accepted that the 60’s were over--going to Rainbow Family gatherings, growing their own pot in hidden fields, and making a living by selling handmade articles at Renaissance Fairs and various other events that catered to their kind.
It was finding Grey flirting with a much younger woman who had stopped to buy one of their stone pipes that put her where she was right now--in front of a mirror, pulling on her eyes and thinking about asking Creek if he would front the money for her to get a face lift, just a little one... wondering if her kids had the right idea about life after all.