#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 51
The idea of a collection of daily words describing how you felt for 30 days of social distancing and isolation feels really meaningful to me and something that I think I’d really appreciate having in 10 years. Think outside the box of what you might typically write!— NaNoWriMo (@NaNoWriMo) March 31, 2020
I scroll through the gallery of photos people are submitting as an answer to this tweet and run my hand through my hair. It’s shorter than it’s ever been but feel ridiculously long in comparison to the images I’m seeing.
‘Have you seen this tweet,’ I ask my partner as I scramble down the stairs to the living room where she is sitting, painting.
‘This tweet, have you seen it?’ I show her my phone and let her scroll through the images.
‘Do you want to shave your head,’ she asks me.
‘Well…’ In truth, I am not sure. I have threatened for years to do it, my hair an endless mop on my head that I do not know how to handle. ‘I don’t know,’ I finally say squeamishly. ‘I mean, I’ve always said I would do it one day.’ The palms of my hands are sweaty, my fingers running along them in a vain attempt to dry them. ‘What do you think?’
‘You do what you like.’
I hold her gazer for a moment longer. ‘Can we cut my hair?’
‘Now?’ She glance at the painting she is working on.
‘Yes, please.’ If we do not do it immediately the momentum will be lost and I will not feel brave enough to cut my hair any shorter.
‘Okay,’ she replies resigned. She drops her brush and close the lid of the paint tube she was using.
I rush to the garden, take my t-shirt off, and wait for my partner to come back with a pair of scissors. She arrives and begin to cut. Unlike last time, I am not worried about the amount of clipping that is going on. Locks of soft hair drop to the ground, a carpet for my bare feet. A bird call out, accompanying the rhythm of the scissors.
‘You alright?’ My neighbour’s voice, strong and clear breaks the silence.
I can’t make out the answer of our soft spoken furthest neighbour.
‘I know. It’s difficult to sleep well when it’s so hot. You should take a nap in your garden now.’
A jumble of sounds reaches my partner and I.
‘So many people. I can’t believe people who flocks to the beaches like that. Morons they are. Well, I understand if they are in a flat but people with gardens…’
‘There will be a second wave I’m sure.’
They carry on talking for a while, my brain making up answers and questions from my farthest neighbours based on the answers of our immediate one. All the while, my partner cuts into my hair, peeling off the layers covering my head.
‘Can I do it?’ I ask as she appraises her work.
‘Sure.’ She hands me the scissors. I drop my head by my chest and pull at my hair, cutting any locks I feel are too long. ‘How do I look?’
‘It needs more work.’ I hand the scissors back to her. ‘It’s tricky at the sides,’ she comments as I feel the metal blades rub against my skin.
‘Can we use the razor for your legs?’
‘We can try.’ As she enters the house, I grab my phone and look at my face. The last time I had hair this short would have been as a baby. I run my fingers through my scalp needing to feel my hair under my hands.
My partner comes back with the razor and a glass of soapy water and begins shaving the sides of my head. As soon as the blades are away, I run my fingers along the skin. It doesn’t feel like any other skin on my body. Both sticky and soft, I am fascinated by this new contact. We finish the hair cut upstairs, snapping stray hair and harmonising the whole.
‘This is so different,’ I comment. I do not have the words to express how I feel about this haircut. ‘I like it,’ I add. And I do. There is a freedom in the shortness of my hair, in the shaven sides.
I take a photo and send it to friends. I’ve been at it again. I write as a caption. I await their replies before sending the photo to my family. I know they will get a laugh out of it but part of me is afraid they will comment negatively. I have never been the wild one in the family, my path always secure and cushioned with plans B and C. Is this okay?
Floods of reply come quickly. Laughing emoji fill my screen. No one compliments my new look but no one condemns it either. Our text conversations over, I turn my phone off and look at my reflection in the bedroom mirror. I stare at the person in front of me, both foreign and known. I wait for something to happen but nothing does other than a smile.