Seven years. That’s the length of time I’ve been growing my hair. After my twenties of growing it, staying mid-length and cutting it back again, I decided to grow my hair long in my mid-thirties. For the last time, I reasoned, before it got grey. Afterwards, I’d cut it. Long, grey hair was never part of my plan. My hair as my soul; long and precious, would then be gone.
I got officially grey about a year ago. Grey where I stopped picking out the grey. Those strange, lone, curly grey hairs, like pubes on top of your head – there was suddenly too many of them. They started to bore me… so I left them. I figured like the rest of the changes in my body; the lines in my skin and the increasing girth around my waist; they were just physical manifestations. They went with my new-found spiritual manifestations – and I liked those. Post- forties laziness – I call it ‘thinking time’ 😊
There were things I loved about long hair too. Long hair hid me when I needed it to. Kept me warm as a scarf and a hat combined. Long hair I discovered, can also be worn as armour. There’s something about whipping it, sometimes fast, sometimes in slo-mo, that makes it a weapon.
Except not everyone shared this opinion. My family – and by that I mean the Ormerods – they started to give me a hard time about my hair. ‘It’s too grey,’ they’d say, ‘and it needs style.’ But, at the same time, my hair had got used to being long. No fashion in it, usually tied up. The luxury of it when it was washed. Like a waterfall.
Then Quest came along. Quest has its own demands and expectations. Firstly, my showers were taking up more than their fair share of water. Although our little miracle water-maker makes around 30 litres an hour, when we make four hours of water one day and still can’t see a difference the next, it is a little disheartening. The second is heat. Over the last two-and-a-half months, there’s been more and more occasions where I’ve just wanted to grab a pair of scissors and start chopping myself. I definitely don’t need a hat and a scarf right now.
These factors finally sent me to the hairdresser’s. To Ziggy’s salon in Rodney Bay Mall. On the balcony. Cut and highlights in St Lucia led by Ziggy. We met yesterday and I liked her. She’s been a hairdresser for a long time. Ziggy held my hand today. She understood. She felt me wince when she chopped into it. She let me stay quiet and worked fast while she painted in the highlighting layers. She wrapped up my hair with efficient brusqueness.
After the main work was done, Ziggy softened. The long hair was gone, but the promise of new hair was now wrapped in her foils. And, as she took the foils out like she was uncovering a basting turkey, I opened my eyes. I really, really liked it. One door closes.
How did the Ormerods react? The girls said, ‘Great!’ And, ‘You definitely look like a geography teacher.’ Huh. Ok. I’ll take that.
And Jack? He said he loved it too and appraised me for a moment. Then he said, ‘Have you noticed your hair is now the same colour as your face?’
Thank you! I’d noticed it straight away. ‘It’s trippy, no?’
He nodded. ‘It makes you look like a cat,’
So, a geography teacher who is also a cat. The Ormerods have decided. I can live with that.