These hair-brained thoughts.

Submitted into Contest #33 in response to: Write a story about a character who can't make up their mind about something.... view prompt

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General

You usually look forward to your day at the salon; the healing chill of the cold water as it runs through your hair during the wash, the release of tension as the blow dryer works out the knots, the confidence boosted when you walk out with your new look. And you can’t help but swing your hair around, it smells so good. Was that a new shampoo - apples, coconut? You purpose to stock it at home but never do because home-hair care is not the same as having a pro sort it out for you.

Today doesn’t bode well though.

You barely felt the water as it washed out the dirt but wished that it would wash out all your problems just as easily. Looking to confront the upcoming change in your life, you decided to ditch your usual hairdresser and have someone new take a spin on it. She leaves you for a few minutes so that you can choose which hairstyle you’ll be rocking for the next foreseeable weeks. You thought you knew what you wanted and left home purposefully but the idea jumped out of your head just as you walked through the salon doors. It is nothing new, of recent you can’t trust yourself to make a decision and stick to it.

Should you do crotchet braids? Is it the trending style or should you resort to the familiar, the style you’ve worn for about 9 months now. Just the thought of 9 months wants to send you retching up in the bathroom but you sit tight and continue scrolling through your Pinterest feeds. Maybe you should just cut off your hair and own the bald look. Hair is now a concern that you won’t have much time for anyway.

The choices are too many - they overwhelm you.

You think of asking your hairdresser to make the choice for you but you look for her only to find her shouting at one of her employees. And she doesn’t care that this outburst is on full display for the entire salon. Most of the ladies lift their heads and roll their eyes. Some join in against the employee. Everyone is in a bad mood today and you definitely don’t want to be at the receiving end of all that hard talk. You browse for a style again. It is all for the best though, you need to start trusting your own choices again.

Maybe something short, you don’t want the hair to become a nuisance. But the long styles are beautiful and they have always told you you look younger with longer styles. Perhaps a few curls, anything to announce you have got it all together even though you don’t. Even a little colour won’t hurt, try blue or green or red. The brighter and more unusual, the better. You may not be doing this for a while. Now that life is becoming more serious.

You refuse to face the fact that your indecision over hairstyles is a telling of your indecision over something more serious. This 'something serious' keeps intruding your thoughts anyway, demanding attention.

But you had made up your mind!

That’s what allowed you a peaceful five hours of sleep last night for the first time in the past ten days. You had seen that documentary on adoption and it seemed like a viable option. The plan was set and it felt good to have a path to follow. Endure the months of pregnancy and give the child over for adoption. You just can’t afford to have this child at this time in your life, not with the future looking so bright. You have landed that dream internship placement and have just a little more of university left. Your mind was made up.

All that certainty ran out the door when you woke up today and listened to stories of single moms who took the long road and didn’t regret any of it. They gave up university for their kids and life felt more rewarding. Now you are considering having the child for yourself. The entire walk to the salon you kept seeing babies all over. Mothers cooing over their children. Toddlers running and shouting ‘Mummy’. Mothers taking pictures of their children. Babies on billboards, advertising whatever babies need and looking so adorable doing it.

There is a part of you that wants that, if you are to be honest, now that you know it is a current happening and not a future prospect. Yet, this option as beautiful as it is comes with its own set of unfavourable conditions.

You start to think of where you will hide for the remaining months of this pregnancy and what stories you will feed your dad. He won’t understand this. You don’t understand this. Will you need to inform the father of the child? Is he the sort of man you want to include in the child’s life? You know he is married with three children and had just dodged a bullet with his wife. All is calm in his life now. That was the reason he gave you when he broke things off.

You think this through and realise that you have been afflicted with indecision for longer than you had believed. Indecision is what kept you from walking away from that relationship even when you knew it was going no where. And yet you needed the money. You shed a tear because when they cast fingers at prostitutes, and from time to time you have gossiped about them, you fall squarely in that definition.

You decide you can’t keep the child!

Thoughts of money just reminded you how broke you are and children are just a money drain. What will you do for medical care and school and clothes and food? It is a miracle you survive on the good graces of your friends. You don’t have a house either and nobody to stand in for babysitting. Forget paying someone to do it, you don't have the money. Or the time.

You want to leave these decisions for later but you know time will creep up on you just as it did when your mother passed away. It didn’t matter that you knew it was coming. The doctor had assured you of six months to a year. You thought that was more time than you had expected and you could pack enough memories in that brief time. Time crept in like a thief. And that’s why you need to get these decisions out of the way.

You huff, so frustrated that you can’t find the hairstyle that you want and think of tossing your phone to the corner of the room. But you remind yourself that it’s not the hairstyle and definitely not the phone to blame.

You breathe in and pick up one of those magazines. It may house better ideas. You are immersed in your search but you hear the coos and sighs from the all the ladies in the salon before you turn to look. A girl, much younger than you, has strolled in with her baby, as beautiful and perfect as only babies can pull off. All the women are asking for a turn to carry her. Now the tears start to flow. You study the mother, she doesn’t look as stressed out as you keep imagining. She is the picture of happiness, beaming with a face-wide smile and looking youthful and beautiful in her outfit. Nothing about her demeanor screams that she got a death sentence when she had the child. If she can do this, perhaps you can too.

You decide you are going to keep the child!

You sigh. That’s definitely the decision you need to make. It will be fun, it will be exhausting. It will put potholes in your plans, it will fill gaping holes in your sense of purpose. The mother offers you a chance to hold the baby. Your empty arms refuse to obey reason that begs you to decline. You look at the reflection in the mirror. Something in you gives way to the thought that you were born to be a mother, it all feels so natural. You’ve made up your mind. It may change tomorrow…or the moment you walk out of the salon but in this moment you are going to be a mother. An outstandingly great mother.

You look out the window just in time to see his wife pass by, as polished and distinguished as ever. She probably doesn’t suspect that her children will have a sibling soon as she walks off to a very expensive meal. Before she disappears from view, you take note of the hairstyle she has. You make up your mind then.   


March 20, 2020 02:25

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2 comments

01:57 Mar 23, 2020

Wow! This was beautiful, but not overly sappy. I really like that. I really like how you captured that sudden decision that comes with seeing someone else's example. I'm so glad you commented on my story, because that led me to your story, and I really enjoyed it. The ending was extremely satisfying. I dislike how unfinished so many short stories can feel, you know?

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Peace Nakiyemba
06:58 Mar 23, 2020

Thank you so much Magnet...for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it. I also thought the ending was a good place to leave the story at.

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