The incessant drumming forced Shade to open her eyes, even as she wondered which part of her roof had given in to the rain’s demands for entry this time. She had taken a rare day off and had spent the morning having a facial and a massage, both in the comfort of her home, before succumbing to slumber. She picked up the open magazine that lay face-down from the pile that was beside her and began to look through its pages for styles to inspire her unimaginative tailor. A stunning purple outfit caught her eye, and she stared at it for a while before realising it was Deidre who was wearing it. A wave of bitterness swept over her as she studied Deidre’s smiling face, but it receded as she acknowledged to herself that the cracks in her marriage had begun to appear long before the other woman had arrived on the scene. Her mind wandered to Deinde, and the familiar unsettled feeling started to well up in her again. She had taken the day off to spoil and enjoy herself, and she was determined not to spend any of her precious me time praying for him, so she pushed the feeling away as firmly as she could, turned the page, and continued to look for more outfits, having ruled out the one she had just seen. She no longer loved him, if indeed she ever had, and his departure had served to strengthen her resolve to start afresh and not rely on other people’s visions or prophecies when deciding on who next to marry, if it ever came to that.
‘What do you mean, there is no weave-on there?’ Deidre barked. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Yes ma’ came the stuttered reply. ‘You say make I remove the weave-on, but nothing dey there, na your own hair dey your head.’ The flustered hairdresser took a step backwards, trying to get as far away from the crazy woman in the chair as possible, without making it obvious. She had run her hands through the hair as thoroughly as she could, but the hair on that woman’s head was all hers, and she for one was not qualified to deal with the inside of clients’ heads, just what grew on them. Deidre parted her hair to show the girl where the weft was attached to the cornrow, but the terrified hairstylist continued backing away, mumbling ‘all na your hair madam’, before she turned and fled the room. The other stylists and patrons turned to gape at her, and a hubbub broke out.
The salon, which was the first one Deidre had seen on leaving Baba Apata’s, was not the sort she frequented normally, but she did not have the luxury of being choosy. It was owned by an obese woman who spent most of her working day in the back office stuffing her face with the various delicacies offered by the street hawkers who made a habit of strolling past at frequent intervals. Her rich husband had opened the salon for her after she had complained about being bored of sitting at home, but she had discovered shortly afterwards that she neither had any interest in, nor affinity for hairdressing. She had however realised what she had a real passion for, and that was food. She was in the middle of eating rice and designer stew wrapped in banana leaves, and since her staff knew not to disturb her when her door was shut, she carried on using her fingers to scoop the rice into her mouth despite hearing the raised voices coming from the salon itself.
‘Madam, client wan see you o’ a voice piped up outside her door. She shook her head as if to fend off an annoying mosquito, and continued to shovel the food in. A loud knock on her door startled her into dropping a piece of shaki back onto the rice, and she almost choked as she struggled to speak. ‘Who is that? What do you want?’ she snarled, furious at the intrusion. ‘Madam, I beg no vex. Na client say she wan see you, na im I come call you.’ ‘Alright, I’ll be out shortly’ she muttered, and she stuffed the piece of shaki into her mouth as she heaved herself out of her chair.
She lumbered into the salon to see a wild eyed Deidre striding around, too agitated to remain seated. ‘Your girl claims she can’t see the tracks of my weave, so you had better attend to my hair yourself’ she ordered. The owner, who devoured the tabloids almost as voraciously as she did food, instantly recognised Deidre. ‘Yes ma’ she stuttered, too star-struck to be offended at the way she had been addressed. ‘Please take a seat’ she gestured, silently hoping that the smell of food had completely left her fingers. Deidre sank into the offered chair grumpily, saying ‘all I asked her to do was remove my weave, how hard can that be?’ ‘Don’t be annoyed ma, I will sort it out for you’ came the hasty response. The owner gestured to one of her stylist who handed her a razor blade, and then she parted Deidre’s hair in the middle to start removing the wefts of hair. She stopped in confusion as she found herself staring at Deidre’s scalp instead of the rows of plaited hair she was expecting. She parted the hair again at random, and again saw nothing but scalp. She plunged her two hands into the hair and ran her fingers all around the head, but again, her fingers encountered nothing. She hurriedly removed her hands and then backed away. ‘Madam, I am very sorry, but we cannot help you here. The bonding you did was of a very high quality, we can’t remove it here. You have to go back to the original salon where they fixed your hair.’ Deidre suddenly became aware of how much attention she was getting, and with a hiss she stood up, and swept out of the salon into the car where Deinde was waiting.
To be continued…..