Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Sandy charges $17.50 for my haircut. Sandy has lost a husband, a few businesses and god knows what else. She’s raised 3 kids in her hair salon, taken in immigrant stylists without a lick of English and gathered the displaced and lonely for Christmas dinners…
Or so I’m told. She’s a gritty realist and she’s kind.
When it comes to losing my hair – I cannot face chrome and glass and high fashion and a hopelessly young stylist. I want Sandy.
The front of Sandy’s establishment is The Bloomin’ Café – a wonderful small bistro, unbelievably out of place in down & dirty Spryfield. Frank, the chef, would impale himself on the nearest potato peeler rather than serve anything not made from scratch & you wouldn’t want to talk canned gravy in front of him. The prices are better than good. $8.99 gets you your grandma’s best roast pork dinner – enough to burst a few seams worth, too.
Go through to the hall and washrooms, and just past – and the salon opens up. Not huge but bright and airy. It feels calm there. Happy. Sandy’s granddaughter is in and out. Everyone seems to smile a lot.
Sandy doesn’t wince at the stitches. First, she takes a huge chunk of French Braid and cuts it off, throws it in the garbage with no show, no ceremony. And then she begins. I keep saying “a little shorter.” We discover how curly my hair is, now the weight is gone. I feel lighter and lighter as the cut goes on. Pounds of hair are mounding up on the floor. I tell her just to muss a little product in and not blow dry. I don’t want “style.” In fact, any attempt at “style” or a new look just seems obscene to me at the moment. I want to run my fingers through my hair and never pick up a blow-dryer again.
This is me now. The physical from-the-head-up me. It feels plain. Messy, like I asked Sandy to do. I’ll probably go shorter than this soon – but the shock factor should be minimized a bit by an in-between cut.
I look in the mirror. My energy is limited and running out fast. I stare at the face looking back at me. I try to comprehend that this is me now. This comprehension thing happens, one way or another, a few times every day now. How do I get through so very much change at this pace? The world is spinning under my feet and I am trying to balance in midair.