Fifty Shades by Liz Berg

Emily decided to dye her hair. It had been bothering her throughout the first lockdown. When at last everyone was released, she was grateful to be squeezed in at the hairdresser’s. 

Leaning backwards over the sink, her mask making breathing difficult, Emily was terrified to see looming over her, the Perspex visor of her stylist. No mask on underneath, her breath came straight at Emily’s unprotected eyes. Closing them with a shudder, Emily opted for a trim rather than a full cut to get out of there fast, albeit with a new appointment. Then came the call: 

“Sorry, but in the light of the new lockdown, we’re cancelling all appointments until the near future.” 

Emily sighed with relief yet groaned in anticipation. 

Her hair grew exponentially over the weeks. With no one to control it, it seemed to have a mind of its own. Emily edged further and further out of the weekly zoom picture. The decision to dye followed the adverts of silky smoothness. She bought the box and gloved up. It all looked so easy on TV. She applied, massaged and waited. Then rinsed until the water ran clear. Her hair felt soft and manageable. 

“What do you think?” she asked her partner who turned away, shoulders shaking. Emily stared at the monstrosity in the mirror. A complete smorgasbord of grey. “Now what are you going to do?” 

He backed up as she stormed in and grabbed the kitchen scissors lying near the sink where they had cut the fins and tail off a Dover sole. 

“What I should have done,” she said, brandishing the scissors near his nose, “was wear my glasses to buy the damn dye in the first place.” 

Wisely, he didn’t even nod. 

In the weekly zoom call, Emily’s cropped head was centred.

Published in Issue #12

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