by Kelsie Colclough
Freya and Simon’s wedding was going to happen on the following Saturday at the Civic Hall, so Amanda needed a haircut and a bottle of strawberry vodka. She also needed to text Freya back about what flour she was going to use in the cake, although Amanda hadn’t said she was going to do it for certain. Her to-do list was short, much shorter than Freya’s, but she’d been putting off the haircut for a while. She hoped Freya kept her hair long − it was so beautiful that way, half braided down her back, and frizzy baby hairs misbehaving at the top.
‘Come sit down, love. Let’s see what we got here, alright?’ Darla said, waving her over to the most comfortable chair in Darling’s Salon. It just so happened to be closest to the door; that occasional autumn breeze kept her awake as Darla combed through her hair. Darla’s perfume − something floral − filled the room. Amanda did her best to waft it away from her face, but even then, that and the hairspray was unavoidable.
‘I was thinking of going a shorter this time. Maybe a bob?’ Amanda said.
‘To your shoulders?’ Darla asked. She spread Amanda’s brown hair across her fingers and rubbed the ends between her thumbs. ‘That’d be a good change. Good for photos. Who’s doing Freya’s hair?’
Amanda blew a loose strand out of her face. ‘She says she wants to do it herself.’
‘Yes, well, you get her to call me when she comes to her senses.’
That wasn’t going to happen. Darla made the first snip with her red scissors and talked about her recent trip to Spain. Amanda hadn’t been to Spain since that school trip when she and Freya braided their hair on the beach, and the sand felt like crumbled bits of happiness that washed away so easily when Simon came in with the tide. She closed her eyes and lost herself in Darla’s words, the mojito nights and sunny mornings, while the comb threaded through her and released all of those knots. She hummed at the end of Darla’s sentences, half-listening.
‘You’re not going to do the cake, are you?’ Darla asked, frowning. ‘You know you don’t have to.’
Amanda’s brown split ends fell in her lap. Darla combed her fingers through what was left, to check it was even, and Amanda smiled at her reflection.
‘I think I should,’ she said. ‘I always said I would.’