by Abha Iyengar
She sat with old black decaying banana mashed up in her hair. The banana was over-ripe and yet of value. Her hair, post wash, would shine and glow. It was something she had tried at the age of 30, and had received compliments after that for a week. Now 50, she was using the formula again. Her hair needed the bounce, the gleam, the energy, like the rest of her.
Time lay heavy on her hands, because she was lonely. Some called it independence, but this lasted only up to an age, after that…pfft…you wanted company, someone to talk to, go out and have a drink with, someone to hold, someone who could rush you to hospital when you sometimes choked in the night and wondered if you were going to die and whether this was what life was all about, a few extinguished dreams and nothing more.
Life for her had been a pattern of wantings and disappointments, marrying a guy because he was the only one who asked her, and she was 30 then. It had been her shining hair that week that had worked the magic with Tom.
She had accepted Tom’s proposal with grace, and some degree of relief, because now she had ‘someone’ to call her own. It had been boring with him, and safe. He had loved her hair, even when it had lost its gleam after that week.
As she sat there, with the banana in her hair, knowing it would begin to drip in gooey bits onto her neck, she imagined another ‘someone’ may fall in love with her hair and she may bring him home. It would be good if he was a younger man, some young men did fancy older women so she had heard, and except for a few crow’s feet and a mouth that kind of drooped now, she did not look too bad. She stared at her face in the mirror. The hair had done it for her once. It might just do it again.
She felt the cold goo drip, onto her neck and imagined it to be the warm kiss of her future lover. Tom had died two years ago, and now it was about time that she took matters in hand, enjoyed the next decades or so before she too slept in a cold grave. It would not matter in the grave whether her hair gleamed or not. But now, it must do for her what it did for Rapunzel, who because of her hair, got the Prince to climb the tower. Here, it should entice a man enough to climb into her bed.
Another heavy glob dripped, down the front this time. She reached for her breast and rubbed the rich goo into her skin, relishing the circular motion, watching it gather momentum in the mirror. The fingers squeezing her nipple so hard now looked manly. They could not be hers, really.
published 25 June 2016