I woke up early today, too early, and as I vainly tried to fall back asleep, an odd flock of random memories visited my forcibly awakened mind.
When I was around 10 years old, my mother had to get surgery. At the time, having not experienced the matter myself or really been told what it entailed to have bones and tissue sawed and sliced, it didn’t seem as big of a deal as I now of course realize it was. She packed the few things she needed, pyjamas, hair and toothbrush etc. and left home. I believe I had school that day and went on with my life with the simple thought that my mum wasn’t at work but with a bunch of doctors, and that I oddly wouldn’t find her home when I returned. In my mind, that was it, I’d miss her but it wasn’t something to fuss about. Children can sometimes be terribly naive.
So I went back home, dad too, with news that we’d visit her the next day.
“Have a bath now.”
I remember hating baths at the time, all the tiring procedure of scrubbing and experiencing that burning in your eyes as ubiquitous amounts of bubbling shampoo trickled onto my face and ever unsuspecting eyes. So I got in, got clean and got out. The chore of personal hygiene over, it was time to return to more enjoyable pursuits. Or so I dreamt before hearing:
“Now we must dry your hair so you don’t catch cold.”
I had forgotten how structured my father could be in certain situations, and heat being the last thing I wanted applied on my scalp, I sighed and reluctantly nodded in approval.
“I’ll get the hairdryer”, he said.
I remember feeling amused and slightly scared at the thought of my father caring for my hair, a man who, well, didn’t have the gift of such a mane to really claim expertise in the department.
It hurt. There was pulling and indescribable manoeuvres with him trying to balance a boar bristle brush in one hand and a bulky 90s hairdryer in the other, pulling from the left and bumping my head on the right. The 80s blow-up made a failed comeback that night, but it was nothing compared to the ponytail we gave up on the next morning. Oh, dad…
Looking back, I think that period really strengthened my abhorrence for hairdryers, and it still shocks me when my dad, seeing my hair wet, tells me to go dry it off. Just look the other way, pops.