I’m not going to lie to you. In true Leo fashion, I am vain about my hair! Or should that be was…
“You are going to lose your hair,” my kind doctor warned. Not just yet. Maybe it wouldn’t fall out. “Don’t cut it,” Dave in the chemo room insisted. “You could just be lucky.” So I ruminated for a few days. And the rest of the week. And then a text popped up from Ali, my hairdresser. “Just checking how you are. Anything I can do?” I picked up the phone and dialed. “Can you squeeze me in?”
And so I came to be sitting at The Hairdresser on Saturday morning. “A pixie cut,” I whispered. Ali didn’t hesitate. As my locks fell to the floor and I watched a new funky hairstyle take shape, I remembered something. When all my classmates were having their hair done for the matric dance, I didn’t need to. I had an incredibly short pixie cut and just needed a wash and go. And here it was again. I stared back at my face in the mirror and was about to say something profound when the door flew open. My daughter held out a long blonde wig for, “just in case.”
“Leave it with me. I want to play a bit,” the delightful Ali insisted. She studied it from every angle and shook her head vehemently when I suggested a strawberry colour.
“You looked like this at school,” my sister-in-law announced. By now a little crowd had gathered around and murmurings of approval gave me comfort. I glanced down at the rest of my hair before it was quickly swept away. It was time to go and I reached for my wallet.
“Now let me make this clear. I’ll not be taking money off you until this is all behind us. There’ll be plenty of time in the future.” I looked up into my hairdresser’s no-nonsense eyes. A tear rolled down my cheek and I swept it away before anyone else could notice. By the time we pulled up on the gravel at home, a fire was crackling and the snoek was being prepared. I was surrounded by family. Laughter filled the air and I declined any offers of knitted beanies. I look like a peanut with a cap on in one. A girl still needs to hold onto a touch of vanity.
Archie didn’t notice my haircut when he joined me once the lights were out. I don’t think that kind of thing bothers him. He sat on my chest and purred pure love into my ear, before he curled into the back of my knees. The first birdsong came and went. He was still there. I took it as a sign to burrow down for a little longer. One can’t rush this kind of therapy…