The joy of having your own place is immense, no matter how small and unfurnished it is. All the hard work had paid off, and I was finally able to be five hours and a plane ride away from my family and their criticism. We had initially planned on me living in a dorm room with its strict rules and protection but I changed my mind at the last minute, without my parents’ knowledge.
I had come here quite close to the opening date of my university and for the first week, I was busy with studies and meeting new people and just generally getting used to the place and the life it offers. It was only during the weekend that I could finally squeeze out some time to go grocery shopping. It had become necessary to cook here because even eating at fast food restaurants for a week had made quite a dent in my budget. Thankfully, I knew how to cook some basic dishes, which I hope would be enough to live by and so I headed to the cheap market my landlord had recommended me to go.
The day was hotter than usual; there was no rain or even a cloud and the sun was shining brighter than ever. And I decided to take a bus, it was cheaper than any mode of transport, except for walking, and the air conditioning it offers. Hot air welcomed me as soon as I got off the bus and after a long twenty minutes of walk to the market, I was sweating from head to toe and it didn’t help with the fact that I forgot to tie my goddam hair.
To my horror, it was a very local market; with little stores clumped together and no apparent main building and therefore, not even shade from the boisterous sun. As my landlord had said, the prices were very affordable and I found almost all the ingredients I had in mind. At the end of the month, I might even be able to save up some money from my budget.
I need a haircut
I was very happy about the whole shopping experience until I saw my reflection in one of the mirrors on the clothes store. My hair was dipped in sweat. The shorter layers were flipping inside while the longer ones in the back were flipping outside. The protruding bangs above my forehead didn’t help the look either. All in all, it looked like someone had hacked off my hair. It was fairly accurate because just the day before I had tried to give myself bangs and well, I cut over the scissors and I ended up with micro bangs.
I had the kind of hairstyle that looked great with a lot of styling and products inside. It looked better when it was shorter, mainly because of the way the layers were created. Now after some time since the last cut and without any styling or products, it looked horrible to say the least. And I was hot, it was hot here. I made up my mind right there to have a haircut as soon as possible.
As I continued on my tour of the local market, I started to remember what my new friends had informed me of their visits to the fancy saloons. They were very expensive: one girl had to pay over 200 dollars for a wash and trim. I winced knowing there was no way I could afford that in months. Maybe should I just ask my parents for more money?
Nono, I strongly shook my head and the thought left as quickly as it came. I came abroad to be independent and that would be the opposite of the word independent. The solution presented itself as I came upon a booth with a name “Haircuts”. It was as shaggy as the market itself, but from what I have learnt about this country, you can never judge a book by its cover.
I glanced sideways from where I stood. There were two chairs and on one of them sat a boy of around my age or maybe some years older. From what I could see from the back and sides, he was definitely my type and I thought even a bad trim couldn’t hurt anyone.
I decided to walk inside the booth. Upon hearing the foot-steps, he turned back and I had the shock of my life. It was a girl; a very pretty girl with a masculine look. I for the sake of my life would never figure out how that is possible. She was pretty and I know she was a girl but she made me feel the way I felt when I met a very hot guy.
It’s actually a her
She chuckled, got up from where she had been sitting and invited me. “Come on in” Her voice almost startled me. I was so shocked I had been fixed at the spot for an awkward moment. I immediately got inside the booth and in the seat she had just frequently occupied. I realized I was at a loss for words and was just plainly staring at her again.
“I’m Ryann” she smiled as she put all my sweaty hair up with a clip. Then, came the cape with a swish and she tightened it around my neck. “So, what’s your name?” she asked as all my hair spilled over the white cape from her clasp.
“Misa” I timidly replied. There was something about her that made me feel so nervous and act like a child. She seemed to have realized I was not much for talking as she started to comb through my hair. There were, of course, knots and tangles and her comb struggled amidst them.
“So, what do you have in mind?” she asked, trying to get my hair straight in place. I was at a loss again. Her slightly frustrated expression, the way her lips pouted and her hands in her hair. I, for the life of me, didn’t know what to say.
“Actually, I don’t have a style in mind.” I came clean. “It was very hot and I saw how bad it looked.” I tried to say it with as much confidence as I could, but to no avail.
An unintended cut
“So, you decided to have it cut short, right?” she interrupted my sentence with a sweet boyish smile. In truth, I was planning on something shorter but definitely not short short. But the frustration was gone and her eyes were glimmering with hope and I just couldn’t say no. I could only nod in submission.
As soon as she got my hesitant approval, she immediately got to work. She combed my hair from the crown and stopped slightly before my hairline. I felt the steel scissors touch my nape and with a snip, all the hair below the blades was cut off. I yelped and almost jumped out of the chair. But her strong hands held me down from the shoulder.
“Don’t worry, it will look good. You’ll be so pretty.” she spoke in a soothing voice, with a very sweet smile, to calm me down. She then continued the first procedure. She combed from the crown to my hairline and cut off everything below her comb. The cut hair fell with a thud. She repeated this until all the hair in the back was above my hairline. I actually felt air blow through my neck. Her hands fluffed it up.
She then came to my right side, combed from the crown and this time, it ended just after my earlobes. The scissors came and my jaw and neck were completely exposed. Her comb ran a few more times and my right side was even shorter than the back. It was such a contrast to the still lengthy left side.
And then, she continued her assault on the left side, repeating what she had just done. Her eyes had a hunger to them, like a kid getting a lollipop and her hands were very fast and made quick work of my hair. Before long, my long hair was reduced to what could only be considered a French bob. She went to the back again, combed everything out and came back in with the thinning shears.
The hair that came out of those shears made me nauseous. I even wondered whether I would be able to leave with hair intact on my hair. She shuffled my hair with her hand and used those shears where she seemed appropriate. When she was satisfied, she came to my front, combed down my handiwork of bangs and examined her work. She tilted her head, contemplating what to do.
Her fingers came in, swooped my bangs and cut them two inches further. After she had made blunt, very short bangs, she thinned them out and declared me done with a very big smile on her face.
I took some time to examine myself as she rubbed off stray hairs from my neck. My face was turning red from the heat and the embarrassment. The hair was very short and I didn’t know what to think. I had always had long layers framing my face. My features were indeed more accentuated without all that hair and I was suddenly reminded of those French models with red lipsticks. I would have to try it.
“So, I cut it to a bob. It is slightly longer in the back. And you have very nice eyes to show off so I took your bangs shorter.” She said beaming. I could only nod. I got out of the chair after she uncapped me. It was definitely cooler under the sun. As I was about to pay her, she interrupted me.
“The cut is on me. Thank u for letting me cut off so much.” I realized she was actually blushing slightly and it was so cute. “If you are interested, maybe we can go for a drink sometimes?” she continued, giving me her number.
I could only say yes and promise to call her soon. And I did exactly just that.