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Posts Tagged ‘redhead’

Coffee overload

Early morning on Friday and I was back on the train heading north in the company of a big cup of coffee. I turned my computer on to practice my talk for the day conference that was taking me back to the city and department I had left three weeks earlier with a Ph.D. title and freshly done mahogany hair. My first talk as a doctor. The same place, the same crowd, but this time I was an invited external presenter.

— “All tickets please.”

This isn't a teacup

"This isn't a teacup", by Pierre Andrews

I got my ticket ready for inspection and looked at the “open return” saying on it. The openness that allowed me to stay for the weekend in the city where most my friends lived also let me return to London after the conference to enjoy Friday night. Milonga night and my last one in the UK before flying to Brazil for Christmas.

— “Thank you love”, said the ticket man, and I put the ticket away on my bag.

Would Marcos try to find me at the milonga? Had he even tried one of Javier and Alexa’s classes? My talk practice wasn’t taking me anywhere and it wasn’t even needed. I knew what to say – I had spend the last two nights practicing the talk and asking myself the same questions. Should I have tried Wednesday class anyway? Not if I wanted to have a talk to present, I knew that answer. It was silly to even contemplate returning to London just for the milonga and the hope of seeing Marcos, I’d have plenty of time for London and milongas in the future and I had the perfect chance to enjoy my friends for the weekend.

My friends and Fabian. My stomach just didn’t accept any more coffee – I should learn to buy small cups when traveling. I picked the phone and checked the time display – 8:52 – so I decided against calling Kate. I had the same coffee overload and nausea when I last saw him, as he joined the doctorate celebrations expecting VIP treatment as if he had earned that title as well. I had also ran for Kate afterwards, the mahogany dye with me, and we had a go at transforming me into a new woman, doctor rock´n´roll, Kate said. Luck had it that doctor clown also wanted the post and got it. Less than a week later I messed up with the final submission I had to send to the binder for the hardcover copies the University requested. Doctor clown it was and it was Fabian who came to the rescue. It was my turn to replace aggressively defensive with grateful and that’s why we were supposed to have another go at meeting for coffee this time. I binned my coffee and tried to rest for the rest of the journey.

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Redhead (pre-milonga)

As I arrived at Manchester Piccadilly I noticed there was a train I could take leaving in 2 minutes. I did not even think of saying proper goodbyes to the other researchers, I just ran to platform 5 and boarded one of the first coaches. It was packed: Friday after half five heading to London. People sat at improvised spots at the ends of most coaches, but I kept on walking through its corridors and got a seat within 2 minutes of the train’s departure.

I just sat there for a little while, resting from the long day of travel and meetings and then made my way to the restaurant wagon to get a sandwich, water and a flapjack, so I would be ‘properly’ fed before I got back to London for the milonga. I was lucky to board that train and find a seat, but there was no way I would get to Holborn at 7:30pm for the musicality workshop. I got back to my seat and caught the girls I was sharing my train table with discussing very pressing maters:

– He said you wash your hair and then apply a good amount of those anti-dandruff shampoos to it, right? Make a good lather and leave it on for about 20 minutes before you rinse. With a few washes the dye is gone.

– Cool. Are you doing it?

– Yeah, most definitely. I really hate my hair this dark.

– Sorry to interrupt, I said, but your hair looks lovely!

– Oh, thanks.  It’s just a bit too dark!

– Well, it looks great to me, but I know what you mean. I dyed mine last week and I don’t recognise myself as a redhead.

a bit too rock n'roll

– Seriously? It looks great on you.

– Yeah, it does, said the other girl.

– Too rock n’roll for me I guess.

We went on sharing our likes and dislikes for the results for a while, but then the girls had to get ready for their party in London: they went to the loo and changed into cute little dresses and started doing their make up on our table. I did not have much to do as I was keeping my work outfit – nicely fitting caramel trousers combined with a white top with some lacework that had been strategically hidden under an ivory cardigan during the day, but would become partially visible under a burgundy shrug I was planning to wear for the milonga – and, as for make-up, I had to go neutral. Having bright mahogany hair did not allow much colour or intensity due to the risk of being taken for a clown. So, my effort to join in consisted of a little bit of brown mascara and a neutral, peachy coloured, lip plumping lipstick, which, disappointedly, did not sting at all. We wished one another a good night out as we stepped out of the train and I hastily made my way to the tube.

It was well after 8 when I arrived at the milonga. As I was going to pay, I asked the always smiley door man, Doug, if I was too late to make it to the workshop. Doug’s smile was a sign of hope and trouble:

– You came in time for it, young lady, they’re still checking the sound.

– Yay!

– It should be starting soon, said the man who was talking to him.

Doug’s responsive looks failed to portray the same optimism, as he raised his eyebrows and kept his gaze low with a slight and doubtful turn of face towards the other man. I followed the words rather than the face and, without losing a minute, changed to heels, dropped my stuff at the unattended, but safe, cloakroom and made my way towards the main dance hall, when the man who was chatting to Doug stopped me:

– I like your hair.

– Oh, thanks. It comes from a bottle, I said resenting the colour.

– What?, the men said in unison with puzzled faces.

– It’s a red dye; it’s naturally blonde, dark blonde.

– How come you dyed your hair being naturally blonde? Said Doug, positively perplexed.

Good question, I thought, but said nothing. For Christ’s sake weren’t men supposed to have no interest over such things? How could I begin to explain I had recently felt a change would do me good after a nerve-racking period that had culminated with a Ph.D. examination and a subsequent encounter with Fabián.

– Do you know how many people dye their hair blonde?, he insisted, while the guy who had originally liked my hair did not say a word in my defence.

– Mousy blonde, not very bright; I said awkwardly and left to the main dance hall.

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