It had rained earlier today and the sun was finally peeking out from behind a light grey curtain. Its warm fingers gently stroked my face. Really, I should have been grateful to see that yellow sun hanging in the corner of my window but I just couldn’t get over the disaster that could have taken place this afternoon because it decided to take a nap and let the rain play. If my hair was out when it rained, I would be writing a very different story right now where my hair performs the great illusion in a packed lunchroom, magically transforming itself from a sexy mane to a shrunken pom-pom. The crowd would stop eating their lunches in awe, a few shrieks might jump out of the straight haired girls that have never seen this trick done before and my meeting would almost certainly have ended awkwardly. And as entertaining as that could have been, I am happy to say that it’s not what happens in this story.
In this story, I tell you of my encounter with a stranger on the train.
I was returning home from a meeting in Essen and I watched as the buildings and trees sped past my train. They couldn’t have been more in a hurry than I was to get home. Out of these wet clothes and into something warmer. My hair was in mini-twists so the rain couldn’t play any of its pranks with it. It had been in twists since the dreadlock incident because I was so afraid that if I kept fiddling with it, I would turn into a bald eagle before summer. When I saw the image of me as a bald eagle in my head, I had to say my prayers. ‘Nahh! Father Lord!’ I cried. ‘I do not want to be a bald eagle! I want to soar like one but I don’t want to look like one. That look only works on Amber Rose. So please Lord, help me!’ With summer just round the corner, all I could do now was hope for the best.
Back on the train, I breathed a sigh of relief as the elderly woman sitting next to me got up to leave. Usually I find that elderly Germans are very curious and like to strike random conversations. But I guess this lady’s journey was too short. She got off after only a few stops and I was thankful because I was not ready to have another conversation where my grammatical blunders shot holes through the roof. Seriously, I don’t know how they keep a straight face when they hear my broken Deutsch. But finally! I could stretch my arms out without hitting anyone in the face! I closed my eyes and let the motion of the train rock me gently to sleep…
‘Bonjour. Parlez vous Francais?’ A voice asked.
‘Nein.’ I replied in Deutsch, eyes closed and hoping to be left alone.
‘Ok. Sprichst du Deutsch dann?’ He asked, wanting to know if I could speak in German.
‘Ja’, I replied. ‘Ein bisschen. A Little.’
‘Ah, me too! Only a little,’ he said in German and quickly occupied the empty seat next to me.
Well I had no choice than to open my eyes now. He obviously didnt notice my eyes were closed before. He was a very lean young man. I know how skinny I am but if we were both in a ‘Whose fatter?’ competition, I would definitely be taking the trophy home. He wore huge dark sunglasses and a Thermal hat on his head. He spoke really softly and asked a lot of questions. He told me he was from Ivory Coast and that he spent most of his time with his relatives in France instead of studying like he was supposed to. Now he wanted to know all about me, starting with where I came from.
‘I came from England.’ I told him.
‘But you are like me.’ He said, pinching the skin on the back of his left hand.
‘Yes, of course, I’m African too but I came to Germany from England.’ I laughed. He seemed a little more satisfied with this answer. Then with his dark glasses, he looked up at my hair, and before I could stop him, he touched a twist and asked, ‘Are they dreads?’
“Everywhere I go people keep finding a reason to touch my hair. Without asking if it’s alright to do so.”
At this point, laughter disappeared. Did he just touch my hair? I asked myself. Erh, yeah he did, came my head voice. But it happened too fast. Too fast like it never even happened at all. I was wondering if I imagined it but I was certain he just touched my hair. If I had the skill and reflexes of a Samurai, he would have lost some fingers by now. But I just didn’t have enough time to react.
I looked at him as he sat there innocently, waiting for my reply. Oh man, Its hard to be angry at someone that has no clue they’ve even done something to upset you.
I would love to say this was the only time someone randomly touched my hair but this has happened so many times since I’ve been natural. And I’m not sure how much more of it I can take before I turn into Godzilla and trample a whole city. But I get it. People are not used to seeing natural black hair and so temporarily forget how to conduct themselves. Or maybe my hair has this magnetic force that keeps pulling fingers towards it becasue everywhere I go people keep finding a reason to touch my hair. Without asking if it’s alright to do so. And no, for the record, its not alright to do so.
I would like to walk into every conversation with a sign that says:
‘Do NOT touch the hair!’ Or even better, ‘Here! Here! Stranger, be ye warned! The curse of Odin shall fall upon thee, and Thor shall strike you down with lightning, if you dare to place your bogus finger upon my head!’
I am more inclined to go with the second one but it might be a little too effective and all my conversations might end before they even begin.
Well, you’ve read my story! Do people randomly touch your hair? I would love to hear how you feel about it. Comment below! 🙂