Hairwashing and Dresses

When everything came crashing down the previous autumn/winter, I lost a fair amount of weight. I hadn’t really needed to lose weight, but I was quite happy being slimmer. I felt it was the silver lining to an otherwise dull cloud of doom. But as I started to recover from (soon-to-be-ex) hubby leaving, the weight had surreptiously sneaked back on so I was back to my usual, passable weight. At the start of the summer I was looking forward to doing a bit of walking, cycling, maybe riding, to get a bit fitter and maybe lose a little weight again. But a fitness regime was thrust upon me, somewhat. I couldn’t drive, of course, so walking everywhere, just after one week, shifted more weight than was necessary, but I was down with that. A pleasing thing to come out of a not-so-pleasing thing. And because I had to walk/bus everywhere, I had no reason to curtail my drinking while I was out, as I couldn’t drive home anyway. Another pleasing thing.

I bussed into town the day after surgery. Or was it the day after that . . . the memory is a little fuzzy roundabout that time. Possibly a side effect of a cocktail of painkillers, as were the nausea and acute tiredness. I found myself overwhelmed by a desire to curl up in a corner of the Co-op and sleep like a dormouse, on more than one occasion. And I had to get off the bus early on this particular journey into town, whichever day it was, as I was certain that the no 27 bus was going to be treated to a technicolour yawn. Hence, as soon as I felt I could withstand the pain, I weaned myself off pill-popping to give myself some quality to my summer holiday.

So, I met with (soon-to-be-ex) hubby to talk money and divorce. It would be the first in a series of meetings involving coffee, to talk about the aforementioned things. I felt guilty to be the pathetic owner of a wrecked wrist. It looked like a cheap ploy to invoke pity but there was little I could do about that. I told (soon-to-be-ex) hubby about the wedge too, again, feeling guilty that it seemed like a ruse but I was struggling to keep it to myself and as we had been close once, it felt natural to tell him. I’d been referred by this time so I just had to wait a couple of weeks for my hospital appointment. After some time we parted and I made my way to meet Rhiannon who wanted company to go to the hairdresser.

There was no appointment made so we wandered around a part of town where there was a cluster of salons and randomly chose one to check out. The man at the front desk had his head down as we entered and spoke, still with his head down, engrossed in paperwork, when we first entered. Immediately the voice sounded familiar and when he finally raised his head I realised why: it was The Italian!

We exchanged niceties, I explained about my arm and he booked Rhiannon in to have her hair cut right then. Suddenly, I became self-conscious about my hair. Having a broken arm that must stay dry, meant that my hair had become rather lank and greasy. The embarrassment of him stealing occasional glances at my locks forced me to ask him if he wouldn’t mind washing my hair? So after he’d cut Rhiannon’s hair, I was treated to a professional hair-wash and he insisted upon no payment. Maybe he felt guilty about the Buddhist altar situation, or maybe he was just a nice guy. But anyway, I went back a few times over the summer and in return, I took him out for a drink to thank him for keeping my hair shiny and happy.

House viewings were the order of the month and they were time-consuming, without the ability to drive. Joseph accompanied me to most of them and he also kept the house sparkly for potential buyers, which was necessary for the process to play out, but so very appreciated. Viewings were sparse, which was frustrating as we had found the house we intended living in. But that’s how the process of house-moving has earned its accolade of being one of the most stressful events in one’s lifetime.

The previous summer I had bought myself a pretty, 50s-style full-skirted dress, complete with petticoat. I had barely worn it, so I’d promised myself a few outings with said dress this summer and one still, warm evening I decided to wear it to an Open Mic night. I wriggled into it, as best I could with a useless right arm, but struggled with the zip. The bus was on its way, I hadn’t left yet, there was no time to change . . . I was in a corner. I had no choice but to go for Option 3. I grabbed a light jacket which would cover the open zip and therefore my exposed flesh and went for the bus. But I was rather hot and sticky by the time I arrived in town and anyway, I wanted to show off my dress without a jacket ruining the style. So I asked Original Blues Guy to help. This couldn’t be done in the pub, so we exited the pub and slipped down an alley-way which ran alongside it. So there’s Original Blues Guy, trying to fix my zip, his face right up to my zip which runs down my left side and it’s difficult because I keep laughing, which fills up my lungs and makes it harder for Original Blues Guy to do up my zip, which makes him laugh, until we’re holding onto each other, laughing and me still with my zip undone so I look like one of us has half-undressed me, and one of the other Open Mic guys walks past this otherwise deserted alley-way and just stops, and looks, and makes one of those knowing laughing sounds . . . It is no wonder that it took me quite some time to convince the Open Mic fraternity that I was not in a relationship with Original Blues Guy.

So, when a good friend kindly took me to see Miss Saigon in the West End, I opted for a pretty polka dot dress that had no zips, buttons or other awkward bits that needed closing. It simply stretched on and stretched off and so there was no need for him to accompany me to any alleyways and be subjected to an embarrassing situation which he might not have found as funny as Original Blues Guy did. Miss Saigon was entertainment enough.

A short time later, when my sister was generous to enough to give me and my mother free tickets to the opera at Glyndebourne, I decided to give myself time to negotiate the zip up the zipper, so I could wear my pretty petticoated dress once more. All was well and I managed to dress myself without the need for assistance. After a long but beautiful day attending the opera and picnicking in the grounds, feeling the part in my dress with the awkward zip, I returned home, ready to sink into slumber. But my dress had other ideas. The problem lay in the UNzipping this time . . . I was trapped. I tried force, gentle coaxing, wriggling . . . but still I was a prisoner in my awkward dress. I dozed off trying. I awoke, a short – or was it long, I’m not sure – time later and tried once more. I cursed my wrist for being so useless and my beautiful but deadly dress. Which must have worked, because magically, the zip unzipped and I slid out of my cotton prison and finally fell into my bed, still clutching my dress . . .

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