It is 9 a.m and you are on a mission about your grey hair. You cannot wait another day after the weekends’ performance where you had to smudge hair mascara on the bits that might show how old you really are. And to have to do that while your husband is driving you to the restaurant followed by friends in another car is never a good idea. Because you then have to frantically run to the washroom the moment you arrive, to wash your fingers that are now black, while everyone is wondering if you have a touch of incontinence.
This morning seemed a very good morning to do the hair, not because it is sunny but because the gardener is off with malaria and you can for once move freely from your bedroom to the bathroom without seeing him vacuuming on the far side of the pool, where his wandering eye might see you roll out of bed, despite your room being on the first floor and preceded by a balcony. Plus you do still have cartons to empty, the bedroom ones, the clothes you have not seen for a whole year and a half, which you obviously did not need but that you now have difficulties discarding.
You keep an eye on the watch for the usual 30 minutes and it is now time to take it all away and look your young self again. You know that you need to press the switch for a pump to bring water pressure to your shower and as you are about to do that a rush of ping ping whatsapp sounds come from your iPhone. You tell yourself you will look at it later, it might just be your expat sisters chatting away in the morning. But now you realise after pressing the switch and nothing happens that instead the whatsapp messages were from your neighbours’ power group saying the usual ‘power off, don’t hold your breath!’ followed by little faces red with fury or sticking the tongue out. Damn! Not today. But there is nothing to worry about you tell yourself, not only you can ask the staff to turn on the generator or instead just use the bathroom downstairs where water pressure is perfect.
Wrapped in your kikoy and armed with a torch, a towel for your hair, your special hair cream, and a bath towel you walk in a nonchalant way to the bathroom pretending you cannot see Martin sweeping the outside terrace and that he cannot see you either. Because if he did just imagine how dreadful that would be: black dye pasted all over your head, hair in disarray, looking like the Wicked Witch of the West. You sigh with relief once you are under the shower, you have made it you tell yourself with a smile, all in order.
This is before the bathroom door opens wide with a bang and your 15 year old labrador walks in. You now scream and tell him to bugger off, unfortunately he is stone deaf and half blind and now proceeds to walk towards the other side of the bathroom leaving the door wide open with a partial view of Martin holding the broom wondering why are you screaming. Then Martin quickly looks down and you quickly shove Romeo out of the door and bang it closed and as you do you catch a glimpse of your naked body in the full length mirror. Oh my! A few unwanted bulges stare at you and you a make a mental note of no more lunches or dinners and glasses of wine for a while.
Now you are off to a girls’ lunch. Yes I know! You just mentally told yourself half an hour ago that you would definitely stop all this but how can you do this to friends on short notice? It is just not fair. Not when they called you in advance a week earlier asking if you were available. And then what excuse would you give? That today you were the Wicked Witch of the West, with bulges dimmed by a torch light?