When I was five, I used to walk by the salon in town. It was a small shabby salon, looking bland towards the colour of my uniform. Often rain would cause blinds to flip shut. However, on sunny days what blinded my eye most was not some sun in the stark sky, but the girl that stays forlorn by a barren glass. I still remember: that was nothing compared to those many poster girls hung about a looking glass within. Her hands faced palm outwards, her finger tips from pink towards a shade of green. Perhaps she never saw my own eyes as I stared blankly at her.
When I entered kindergarten, I would ask my mummy if we could stop by the candy store on the way back. She wouldn’t know; I didn’t dare let her: that opposite of the store I indulged my sweet tooth at was the salon. When I peeked over my shoulder, I could just make out the figure of a young girl standing by her mother. Her bright eyes betray the dull movement of her side steps. They glance, up towards intertwining hair that her mother braids on another stranger; wondrous with curiosity.
On a rainy day in middle school years, chance came by when the blinds remained open. As was my daily routine, I stopped by in the middle of the street. Looking at her, I could have felt her hands going through mine as she did another’s. Her hands waved and flowed through another’s hair, kneading in, perhaps, the most wondrous work I had seen. Blankets of hair drop from head to feet level. Twin eyes act playful, look about a work of art. The swinging of her own hair dances to the faint music within. They dance and play along a smooth, delicate frame. They were as if gliding gently along the rain dancing upon the light-hearted breeze. But that brown enveloping curtain of hair was never out here with me. And like the pattering rain that avoids me because of the translucent umbrella I held above, I could never let myself feel that happiness.
After graduation came, those eyes feigned dull again. With my path to work, I could again pass by the salon in town. The candy store across the salon was no more, replaced by a cool coffee shop. Through the dark shades of my glasses, the enthusiasm in her eyes looked all but lost. Her hands glide slowly and steadily through dishevelled hair. Her body no longer moved from one side to another. Her cheeks, but a cute shade pink. But her hair still looked like it once did. As it once did, the unbound hair swished about. Once, twice, thrice, and about as she leaned in and out, around her wondrous canvas. I wished I could tell her just how much I adored her. But fearful apprehension resisted me.
Her shop had closed afterwards. A small candy stall stands by under the shadow of a two-storied building. Her body leans relaxed on the rocking chair a balcony above. It only retained a shuddering glimmer of red. All that had came down to my vacuous eyes was her jittering shadow cast down by some sun peeking over dull brick walls. A small pool of muddy water laid still beneath the feet of the store. Prior night’s rain kept the blinds closed, but they were still closed now.
A black crowd shifts slowly out of our town’s graveyard. I wait till they’re all gone when I could ready my wits to walk through those black gates. I feel nothing but remorse as I stand in front of her gravestone. A piece of paper is held down on the greens. It reads:
‘She met Death, and to the end of her days, never to find a loved one.’
My remorse is forever more accentuated by her pass. I wonder: If I had approached her anytime before then, if I had asked for her hand, would she have accepted me? Or would she have stepped back in fear, disgusted by my actions?
I am too afraid to find out.
I see another girl standing in black. Her black coat is demeaning and cold. Black rain patters on her sickly umbrella, brushing it’s dyes alongside towards a foreboding ground. Tears rush down my eyes, mixing in with the falling rain. She gives me a gentle stare as I brush my old decrepit hands over a cold body of stone. She bade me goodbye. Unsure if it was her, I blinked my eyes clear, only to see that she had gone. Unsure if it was late, I took a stride towards the gates. Only to see that she was no more. Just to see a pink mark on the stone plaque. Too scared to see if a kiss was too late.
Turning around, back towards the gravestone, I could just make out the figure of my crumpled black clothes as an overdue realisation embraced the rain.