Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home.– Melissa McClone
The darkness of the German night sky felt ominous tonight. It was very quiet. A little too quiet even for our tiny village on the outskirts of Siegerland. Though street lights illuminated the pavements and surrounding houses, creating the illusion of life, the pavements were in fact, empty. Not a single soul could be seen. Only the occasional jogger or dog walker. But till they appeared, it felt like the realist ghost town in the history of girl kind.
The houses captured in the light displayed beautiful gardens, neatly trimmed and well decorated with flowers and garden decor. Ours was the same – except for the flowers and garden decor of course. Instead we had dried dog sh*t for decoration. No joke.
For some reason, one particular dog had been pooping on our lawn for a couple weeks now. I had been on the look out for the perpetrator and today was the day I was finally going to catch this stupid dog and it’s owner. Obviously I had nothing better to do and my determination was so real. I was ready. Somebody was going downnnn tonight.
I turned off the lights and me and hair took our position in the dark by the kitchen window. Our stakeout had begun. Now all we needed was a pair of binoculars…
“Soooo…is it true?’ My hair asked. “Are we really going?”
I sighed. This hair cannot even keep quiet during a stakeout. Then replied. “Yes, it’s true.”
“I mean, you’re not- messing- with me. Are you?”
“Quiet!!” I shouted in a whisper as a dog and its owner approached our lawn. We watched them tentatively. Anticipating their actions. They would stop. The owner would keep an eye out and signal to the dog if anyone was coming, while the dog did its business conveniently on my lawn. As they would attempt a get away, I would jump out of the darkness like a true Ninja and cuss the life out of them using every single German cuss I had learned over the years till they ran scared. Never to return. But this was not to happen as they simply carried on walking. Not stopping for even a second.
Now that was disappointing.
And what better place is there to live a chaotic-distruptive-stressful-dramatic yet exciting lifestyle than London!
“It’s not them.” My hair whispered back.
“I can see that.” I replied through gritted teeth. I was gutted I hadn’t caught someone already.
“So are you messing with me?” My hair asked again.
“What? Oh, no no no. Of course I’m not messing with you. Why would I?” I asked with a shrug and palms wide open.
“Good! Cos if you are it would not be funny at all!”
“Ah ah.” I said, putting on my Nigerian accent. “How many more times do you want me to tell you. It is true. We are going. Okay?”
“Okay, okay, say it one more time just so I’m sure of what I heard. Where did you say we are going again?”
I shook my head in disbelief and tried to surpress my laughter but my hair didnt even seem to notice. It sat there as still as a statue, holding its breath and waiting for an answer.
“We’re going home okay?” I blurted out finally. “We’re going back to London.”
“Oh. My. Goooodddddd!!!!! Aaaaahhhhh!!! I am so excited!” Squealed my hair.
“Okay calm down, drama queen!” I said, rolling my eyes and trying to play down my own excitement but that didn’t last very long. I soon forgot about our stake out and joined my hair screaming in choruses of “There is God oooooohhhh!!!!” and “aaaaahhhhh We’re going home!!!” We ran around the living room in circles like crazy kids who just found out they were going to Disneyland. And when we ran out of breath and could run no more, we fell to our knees, holding hands in prayer and saying “Thank you Jesus” about a thousand times. Even though we had known we were returning to London for quite some time, it never really sunk in till this moment. It didn’t matter that the room kept spinning around us, this was definitely our happiest moment together in the last two years.
Two years! Wow! How time had flown but it could not have flown fast enough. We could not wait to get back to the city. As hard as it was to believe, we were finally leaving the outpost branch of the Independent School of Natural hair and returning to civilisation. We were beyond ourselves happy. Out of our minds- free. Nothing felt better. Our little village in Germany was a little too nice and not very nice for us at the same time. It took a while but we finally realised we preferred a more chaotic, disruptive and stressful lifestyle. We needed drama and we had to have some excitement. And what better place is there to live a chaotic-distruptive-stressful-dramatic yet exciting lifestyle than London! We were sooo excited.
“You know, it’s not all that bad round here.” I thought aloud. I would miss the picturesque view from my window. Trees all lined up to greet me when I wake, the birds chirping and singing me a good morning song. The fresh air that caressed my face when I stepped out. The sunshine…
“Are you for real? It isnt all that bad?! What are you saying?” My hair rudely interrupted my train of thought.”For starters, there are no african shops, no salons, no african food. Nothing!!! And you say its not all that bad? Are you kidding me? Abeg, me I’m starving oh. I need real food. So if you want to stay here, you can stay out here by yourself!”
I laughed. I loved the way my hair spoke sometimes like it could actually go anywhere without me. I mean, physically detach itself from me, extend hidden legs from underneath itself and just walk away if it really wanted to. It was part of what made this relationship fun. We were stuck with each other for life and we knew it.
“You have a point. But what I’m saying is, you know here we got to spend so much time together and got to understand each other…well… to a level.” I said.
“Yeah that’s true.” My hair responded after about a minute. “We have had some good times here.”
“Do you know what this means though?” I asked.
“No more Chriselda.”I said.
That was the cue for another bout of laughter.
“Oh my gosh, do you remember that time when you had me all wrapped up in a turban? What did she say again?” Asked my hair.
“Oh yeah, that time…”
There was a period when my hair hibernated in a turban. This was mainly during the winter months. I wore it so often that my outfits started feeling incomplete without my turban. I found a super quick and easy way to tie them and it worked for me. I loved it! But certainly not everybody was liking my turban. Chriselda for starters could not stand my turban. In fact I think she hated it.
I remember the first day I walked into her class with a turban on my head. After giving the class a task to keep our foreign minds confused, she went round the class to inspect our work and stopped in front of me and stared at my scarf. No words came out. Just eyes searching. I tried to help her assuming she was struggling.
“Ist schon oder? It’s nice isnt it?”
“Hmm, ist interessant. It’s interesting.” She replied and walked away.
Hmm, something was not quite right with her response, I thought at the time but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was until her next lesson when she asked from her desk,
“Sie sind nicht Moslem oder? You’re not muslim, are you? “
Now why would Chriselda ask me that? That’s easy to explain. On this side of town, it is very unusual to see a German woman with a headscarf on her head on a typical day. The young girls like to wear their hair bone straight and the older women, well they don’t really seem to care. They just seem to wake up and go. The only people who are commonly seen with their heads covered are the Muslim women. Usually Turkish, Syrian or Moroccan. I never wore a scarf to my German classes before. Then suddenly, being the only black girl in class, I show up with a turban. So poor Chriselda is probably thinking I have converted to Islam or better still I had been radicalised by a group of extremists and she was probably now scared of me. Silly woman! I thought, how could she possibly be frightened of me. But one look at her and seeing all those tense lines beginning to gather on her forehead and I knew she was. I felt sorry for her. So instead of giving a really cheeky answer to set her alarm bells going off, I simply replied:
“Nein, ist nur Mode. No, it’s just fashion.”
“Hmm.”She said, her face relaxed a little but her eyes were still shifty. She wasnt buying it.
Truth is, she was probably just annoyed she could no longer just walk up to me and touch my hair. It was under the dome. Inaccessible. If only she knew how much she inspired my turban wearing fashion.
“I’ve never seen anyone so fascinated with you”. I told my hair.
“Fascinated? Nah that woman was obsessed.” Replied my hair.
“Awh I’m actually gna miss her.” I said. “She was definitely your number one fan.”
“Yeah that number one fan you need a bodyguard and a restraining order for.”
We laughed again, tears beginning to roll and remembered other memories involving Chriselda.
“What do you think things are like now in London.” My hair asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean do you think more black girls are wearing their real hair now?”
“Hmm I don’t know but I sure hope so.” I said.
We spent a considerable amount of time day dreaming of what type of London we would return to. Could the natural hair-volution that began in America have finally found its way into the UK? I had watched so many natural hair videos and the more videos I watched the more I started to realise that not all the girls were Americans. I discovered some of the girls had English accents. Some videos even promoted natural hair events in the UK. There seemed to be an increase in black women in the UK who were embracing their natural hair and were wearing it with pride. Could this even be possible? I totally believed it and I could not wait to see it for myself. I could not wait to unite with my natural sisters!
“Wouldn’t that be amazing?” Asked my hair.
“Yeah that would be amazing.” I responded.
“Okay we had better start packing then?” My hair said.
“Pack what? I already packed about a week ago.”
We laughed again. We were already set for the journey. All that was left to do now was count the days till we were home.
While we busied ourselves with more chatter and more laughter, a stupid dog busied itself with leaving a souvenir on our lawn as we would sadly discover the following morning.
If you enjoyed reading, please comment, like and subscribe to my blog for more. 😊 Also, if you’d like to read more on Chriselda, check out my other post Girl in Progress!
Photo Credit: Skitterphoto
Please note: Although I’ve only just published this post, it was written back in 2016 just before I returned to the UK. At that point, my hair was living in a free state. My hair is currently loc’d. 😊