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Detail of 'Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure')' by Degas, about 1896.
© The National Gallery, London

The Fatal Bump

3rd December 03
Dear diary, all the tangles are spoiling my lovely hair. It is long and flaming red, which matches my personality. My temper can rise in a flash, mother says it's like there's a bomb inside me going tick, tick, tick, tick and it could go off at any second. Uncle Jim is coming; don't ask who he is because I don't know, but the way mother goes on about him you would think he was the king. I'm very worried; mother said that uncle Jim doesn't like long hair. Well tough, because mine isn't coming off.

11th December 03

Dear diary, there's a bump on my head which is troubling me. It is probably just a spot but it is huge, perhaps it will go away sooner or later.

Dear diary, oh dear it has been a week now and the bump is still there.   Now mother has felt it she is suspicious. Jim will be coming in three weeks, so I don't know why mother is fussing so much. It's all Jim this and Jim that, but Jim likes this and that, all Jim, Jim, Jim.

28th December 03

Dear diary, I am so scared. It's like my life got flipped, turned upside down, I am sitting in a hospital bed just because of a little bump, the nurses won't tell me what is happening or if I am going home. Mother is trying to cheer me up by buying me chocolates and magazines.

29th December 03

Dear diary, the doctor said he would have to do an operation on the bump. I automatically asked him about my hair; he said that I have got cancer, which means all my hair will fall out. I screamed. I screamed so loud that my throat is still hurting. I feel like a part of me is falling out.

30th December 03

Dear diary, the operation is today! I am starving because they wouldn't let me eat. I have been brushing my hair for ages, in a few hours I will be bald. Oh God I can't bear it! I will never be the same again. As soon as Uncle Jim found out I was in hospital he told mother he wasn't coming, probably thinking he would have to pay for the operation, what a coward.
Other transcripts:
"The Fatal Bump"
"I Hate My Hair"
"Think Happy Thoughts"
Jacqueline's instructions
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Image of 'Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure')' by Degas, about 1896.Click here for About the Painting.
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More about Jacqueline Wilson