A few mornings ago, I woke up to the sound of low moaning and you could just tell it wasn’t the good kind.
There was something a little desperate about this sound – a single note that crept up on you, clicked shut on the groove of your auditory canal and held on. It vibrated right through the body – again, not in a good way – and after a while, all I could think of was that creepy girl in the white dressing gown with the long hair in ‘The Ring’.
Cautiously, I poked my head out of my bedroom and nearly screamed like a girl when I saw Amanda’s head also sticking out from around her door.
“What is that?” she hissed, eyes wild.
“It’s coming from the bathroom!”
Amanda inched cautiously out from behind the door and padded softly towards the bathroom. She put her ear to the door.
“Saffy?” she whispered.
The bathroom door swung wide open. Saffy screamed. Amanda screamed. I slammed my door shut and squeezed tightly on my bladder.
“What are you doing standing right outside the bathroom!” Saffy yelled. “Are you trying to kill me?”
“Why are you moaning like that? Do you realise how creepy it is? What is the matter with you!”
“I’m allowed to moan! I’m getting old! And that’s what old people do. They moan!”
“I just found two white hairs on my head!”
There was a pause and I could literally feel Amanda gather herself.
“Really? Show me! Oooh, yeah, there they are!”
“Pull them out! Pull them out! They’re freaking me out! Pull them out, Amanda, right…owww! Oh my God!”
“You told me to pull them out!”
“Well, not at the same time! And you didn’t give me any warning. God, am I bleeding?”
By the time everyone had calmed down a little over a cup of hot peppermint tea, I was exhausted and it wasn’t even 8am.
“Why can’t we just have a nice relaxing weekend without any drama?” I whined.
“What am I going to do?” Saffy sniffed into her tea. “White hair. It’s the beginning of the end! Bradley is going to leave me for a younger woman, you just wait and see.”
“Well, look on the bright side,” Amanda said, helping herself to a croissant. “At least, you’re not getting white hair down there!”
Saffy looked up from her tea and frowned, her mind reorientating its physiological compass. Then her eyes widened.
“Oh. My. God,” she gasped and disappeared into the bathroom.
I stared hard at Amanda. She shrugged. “As if you weren’t thinking it too.”
The next day, Saffy came home with a plastic bag filled with home hair colouring packs. “I couldn’t decide which shade of brown I want to be, so I got them all. This had better work.”
An hour later, she’d decided on Deep Mahogany (“It sounds like a dining table!”). Inside the box were a pair of plastic gloves, pre-treatment serum, colour tube and a milky bottle. Saffy unfolded the instruction sheet, pursed her lips as she read silently, eyes flicking from one tube to the other.
“That doesn’t look too hard,” she said finally as she snapped on the gloves and I headed out the door. After all these years, I’m like a dog before a tsunami hits: I can sense disaster a mile away.
An hour later, Amanda came home to find Saffy sobbing in the bathroom. It was a shattered mess with tubes and bottles everywhere, their contents leaking onto every surface. Saffy emerged from a cloud of ammonia, her long streaky hair dripping dark brown liquid onto the sides of her face, clothes and floor. She looked like Carrie at her prom. After she’d killed everyone.
Amanda gasped, her eyes watering from the fumes. “What have you done?”
Between choking gasps, Saffy said that it had all started well enough. She opened one tube and mixed it with another, happily shaking the bottle until she suddenly realised that she’d mixed the wrong solutions together. She panicked and then tried to add the right tube, but then the bottle overheated and exploded.
“And so I tried just wing it and stick it all on my hair, but it was all so liquidy, it ran everywhere and now I can’t get the stain out of my face and it’s all over my neck and I look like I have third degree radiation burns and…” Saffy burst into fresh tears.
Right now, we’re at the dermatologist waiting to see if we can get the colour off Saffy’s face, currently hidden under a big hat.
“We need to sue!” Saffy just hissed to Amanda. “Imagine if I’d tried dying down there!”
Clearly, I didn’t run far enough.