It is Thursday and you have evening classes. You are eighteen minutes early and already seated, away from a few others in the class. The semester is still early and it’s the first time this Insurance class would hold. But the fact that the class is scheduled to last three hours bothers you. It meant you wouldn’t be home until past 8pm. You reach out for your phone and check your to-do list. Everything from “pick up packaging boxes” to “market: crepe and silk” was completed. You even had a quick unplanned lunch with Marty. It has been a busy day. This class and whatever assignments come with it are all that was left to do. And if your body could take it, you plan to spend the night preparing some dress patterns.
Since virtually all the boxes are ticked, you navigate to your Gallery and go over the pictures that you took with Marty earlier. There is a close-up shot of you grinning into the camera. It made you think of how Marty was great at taking your photos because the coils and kinks in your hair looked great in it. There is another one where the wind throws your medium-sized fro on your face. It was not something you usually did but you had decided to wear your hair out to school today because your day three twist-outs still looked good. After the photo session with Marty, you wore a mustard-coloured headband that matched your patterned wrap top of the same colour. Your fro was already awry and the headband came to the rescue by taming it.
Six minutes are left before when the class is scheduled to begin. Yet, only a few more students join in. ‘First class syndrome,’ you think to yourself. Class attendance usually began low at the start of the semester. You continue to scroll through your phone, only you’re now looking at your Instagram page. There’s hardly any recent activity, except three new likes on the post you uploaded the day before, something about one of the best parts of working for yourself being the freedom to wear your hair how you like it. The picture is a selfie you took with your sewing machine behind you. Your day two twist-outs were in a messy pineapple.
Four minutes left and you lift your head to see more people come in, some of whom you know. Two from the group that just came in begin to approach you. One of them is Nancy, from your Marketing class. The other who is sporting her low-cut hair with a slant part on the side, however, you do not recognize. Nancy waves as your eyes meet.”Hey, Lisa”. They’re now before your table.
“Hi Nancy,” you genuinely smile. Nancy was a nice person, you both get along.
“You do Insurance too?” she asks.
You nod, still smiling. You turn to see her friend who has been staring quietly the whole time, but with a small smile. “Hi,” you say to her.
“Oh, sorry. This is Eunice, my friend. She’s joining us for Insurance this semester,” Nancy says.
“Oh, okay. Hi, I’m Lisa” you say to her.
“Hi,” she smiles back. She’s grinning now, in fact. “I love your wig.”
Nancy’s eyes go wide open and she turns to look at her the same time you say “sorry, what?”
She repeats herself, even before Nancy would say “uh, no. It’s all her hair.”
“Your wig, I love it. Looks really natural.”
Oh, come on. Anyone can tell these kinks are real. Your smile returns “thanks, but it’s not a wig.”
She gasps. “It’s your hair?” Her hand is about to pull a tress from off your shoulder when you move backward instinctively.
No way. That’s off-limits.
“It is. See?” You quickly make a small part on the side to show your scalp.
“Oh. Wow,” she says and you see she’s genuinely surprised and in awe. You’re glad she doesn’t take offence at how you avoided her reach. And you’re even more thankful to Nancy who senses the awkwardness and jokingly asks her “must you touch?”
Three minutes past 5pm. The lecturer walks in.
Thank God, you exhale in relief.