When I realised my hairdresser was an ex-student of mine, I blushed and hid behind my new prescription glasses. When I saw another student walk through the door, I full-on dug my nose into Hello! magazine. And when I witnessed them noticing one another for the first time in almost thirteen years, I peered over both and watched as the magic unfolded.
Daniel’s outstretched hand is crushed by Eric’s embrace.
‘You became a hairdresser then.’
‘Yeah, couldn’t pass up on that pun, could I?’ He points to a sign.
‘Eric Candu Hair,’ reads Daniel. ‘It’s terrible. I love it.’
They both laugh and the other hairdresser stops scissoring. She’s watching too.
‘What brings you here then? Everyday cut or am I also getting an invitation to a wedding today.’
‘No wedding for me, I’m afraid. My dad’s getting remarried soon though, so I’ll send him your way.’
‘No worries. But, yeah. No girl for me. The only one I ever loved is off exploring the world now, spending her millions.’
‘Millions? Are you talking about Jessica Steel?’
Daniel nods. Another student! Yes, I remember now. I used to sit them together because I thought they liked one other. When the news came that she had won the lottery I was thrilled. To think she left this boy so heartbroken. An audible ‘Gosh’ slips out my mouth and Eric points to me.
‘You hear that?’ he says. ‘You’re scaring my clients!’
Daniel apologises to me, then reiterates that it is true.
‘What’s also true,’ he says, ‘is that today I need to find confidence in myself and Dr, I mean, Ruth, my soon-to-be step-mum, she suggested a haircut, so here I am.’
‘And what do you need confidence for?’
‘Well, today, I’m taking over Dr Tubbs’ clinic.’
‘Dr Tubbs? Wow. So if I cut off your ear—’
‘No. It’s a vets.’
‘Ah. Wait. Wow. Miss Wednesday!’
I start and almost drop my magazine.
‘What about her?’ says Daniel.
‘Do you remember that day she asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up? You said a superhero with the power to communicate with dogs.’
‘Yeah. I had just lost my labradoodle, Hodge Podge.’
‘Man, that inspired me so much. You know, you gave me the confidence to be a hairdresser.’
Eric nods and pulls Daniel in for another hug.
‘I’m glad I can return the favour at last. Take a seat, my friend. This one’s on the house.’
I’m overcome with emotion. Tear up like the old sop that I am, as the other hairdresser checks her list of bookings. We lock eyes and there’s a twinkle in hers and I see the temptation of announcing my identity dancing across her lips. I don’t know if I want her to or not. I leave the decision in her skilled hands.