“Oh, dear Lord.”
Jo has just walked into Ma’s living room, where I am in the middle of reciting my tale of woe for non blog readers. I have been nervous about seeing Jo. She is a very good friend, but she is also my hairdresser, and a few weeks ago I had a rather unfortunate incident with my fringe and a pair of blunt scissors. Her horrified exclamation does not surprise me in the slightest, and I hang my head in shame.
“Let me see that… what the hell did you do that for?!” she rants in disbelieving annoyance, marching around me and gazing at my for some reason bizarrely unruly curls and hacked fringe.
“I couldn’t see out,” I explain sheepishly. “And I thought if I just sort of took random chunks out of it, it would look deliberately choppy, rather than like a bad haircut.”
Jo’s face is quite expressive.
“And,” I continue hurriedly, “then the mad curliness started and I couldn’t really do anything about that, and besides, it didn’t really matter when I was wearing a backpack and slumming it in a hostel in Eastern Europe. I kinda looked the part.”
Jo, bless her, has a big heart. With a huge effort that makes her look as if she’s going to burst, she sits down and tries not to look at The Hair as she asks me to talk about the past few weeks, and tells me how worried she was at the thought of me over there on my own with nowhere to go and nobody to help me. Sympathy is good, in the eyes of the self-pitiful. I continue with my sorry tale.
The three of us have a nice evening of complaining and sympathising and moaning and occasionally laughing at the crapness of it all. I mention that I’m going to Belfast on Thursday to meet The Ex for peace talks and closure while he happens to be in the country, and it is felt that this is a positive step. By the end of the evening, I am feeling some of those good vibes that come from spending time with friends.
“No, I’m sorry,” interrupts Jo at last, looking unbearably distressed. “Can you come tomorrow night and get that hair cut, please?”
“Don’t you have appointments tomorrow night?” asks Ma in surprise. Jo shakes her head. She has clearly been doing some frantic calculating and shifting around of prior engagements in her head.
“I’m sorry,” she explains, “But I will not be able to sleep if I know that you’re going to Belfast looking like that. It needs to be fixed.”
“I really don’t mind putting up with it for a bit longer,” I tell her amiably. “It doesn’t really matter.”
“Yes, it does!” says Jo fiercely. I meekly agree to go round and have my hair cut when she tells me to.
“See how much she cares about you looking your best?” says Ma.
I look at Jo, who seems a little guilty.
“Actually,” she admits, “I’m just scared in case anybody sees her and thinks I did it…”