“I didn’t think you were the type to play with other people’s hair,” Emil commented, trying to rile her up. Just like he used to all the time.
She almost wished it would work.
Coleen used some hair clips to pull Emil’s bangs back from his forehead. After all, there was nothing to hide anymore. She settled the mirror in front of him so he could examine the new appearance.
For the longest time, Emil said nothing.
“I’m cutting my hair.”
And there was an hour, gone to waste.
At the end, only three people did not think she had betrayed them. Emil was the only one she liked to think about. She hated that Ami had realized otherwise. She could not talk about it, not even with Emil. He liked to contemplate how things were going with the new queen. Coleen could not bring herself to say a word.
“I want to do something different with my hair,” Emil said one day as he searched for the scissors.
“You don’t have to cut your hair to do something different with it,” she reminded him. Not like he needed the reminder. Then again, he probably didn’t need anything from her anymore.
Emile stared at her passively, like he always did. Coleen found herself brushing his long hair with a brush, then with her fingers as she pulled it back into braids.
Hands don’t make the best comb, but fingers will do in a pinch
as the weather refuses to let the mass of strands lay flat.
I think about this often when I consider that it would be much more sensible to
reach up and tear it all off not to deal with it at all. Or cut it. That’s better.
“That won’t do at all. Did no one offer you a bath?”
Someone had, but Dahlia had made sure to avoid it. There were plenty of other children around. It was easy enough to be overlooked as long as no one saw her.
The woman made a tutting sound with her tongue, looking her over. “I refuse to see hair like this. We will fix it. Come.”
Unfortunately, unlike the adults who watched over the children normally, the woman who would come down to see them, who would come down with that boy with the longest of hair, was harder to be overlooked by. Dahlia followed the woman to the baths despite her hesitance.
The woman with the abundance of hair had her scrub herself down first before she began to work on Dahlia’s hair. Dahlia waited for the tugs, used to them. However, even as her scalp became sore, she felt as though the tugs became less and less painful. The woman was able to put her fingers through it without catching against anything. Dahlia wondered how long they had been in here.
“Much better. Where I come from, hair is a symbol of your life. Make sure to take care of it and it will show the world who you are.”
That didn’t make any sense to Dahlia. All she knew was that she hadn’t been dragged here by her hair and that it didn’t feel like a handle on her head anymore.
She felt new.
There was a long light hair in Kotone’s sink. It certainly didn’t belong there. Her roommate would wonder where it came from.
Kotone knew where it had come from, which was why she had to get rid of it. It, and any other sign of the person it had come from. She didn’t know the name of the woman. She knew a lot more about the texture of the woman’s skin, the color of her eyes, the strength of her grip and the long, light, strong strands of hair. It had shimmered like a platinum waterfall, as it had been dyed to look. As straight as an iron could create, glowing under the dim lights that had entered through the window in the middle of the night in a room of dark colors. The stark contrast of that hair against two sets of dark skin and the laughter brought forth when Kotone had tried not to lean on any of it as, flung back on the bed, it had gone everywhere.
Apparently even here, in her sink, likely sometime during the morning after. Kotone picked it up. It was dry. She wrapped it around her fingers.
She should have gotten the woman’s name.
It was her secret. The warm water, the bubbles, the all encompassing comfort of floating in the bath. Soaking up the luxury of the moment, she remained completely in the present. The past would not bother her here and the future needn’t concern her yet. As long as the rest of the house continued to bask in silence meant that she was alone to enjoy this moment. The steam rolling over exposed skin, the droplets creeping up her hair.
Her hair. She pushed aside the thought.
The oils smelled like coconut and sandalwood. Occasionally she raised a foot out of the water and foam to feel the coolness of the air before returning it to the warmth. She brought her head back down and up, the small rivers of the bathwater slowly rolling off her chin and cheekbones. She sunk back in as the water began to cool. Her time was up. Serenity was over.
She exited the bath, rinsed off, and regretfully began the routine that would keep her hair from becoming a frizzy mess.