I bought two bottles of red hair dye last week. I'm not really sure why. I was in Derry, in Superdrug, testing the cashier to see how many packets of non-prescription painkillers she'd allow me to purchase before referring me to a pharmacist or asking me to leave, and they just had this amazing display of endless possibility, a whole aisle dedicated to hair dye.
So I bought two. Two of the same dye, that is. They were on special.
I haven't used them. I put them on top of the bathroom cabinet, but then I worried that anyone who saw them there might assume that my hair is dyed when it's not, so I put them into the press under the sink instead. I took one out the other day and opened the packet and spread its contents out on the kitchen table and read the instructions and then piled it all back in again and hid it again among the spare toilet rolls.
It's not that I'm going grey (though I am). It's just,
I am worried that I will destroy the bathroom. I own it, you see, along with Andrew. I've never owned a bathroom before. It's stressful, owning your own bathroom. It cost us a fortune and, for a month, a cat. I don't want to streak the bath, the pristine white grouting, the badly-laid lino, with red hair dye.
I am worried that I will look brassy, and I am worried that brassy is the wrong word to use. I worry that I will not look like myself and that I will look better, not worse. I worry too much about things and I always have.
When I was fourteen years old it was all I wanted in the world to be allowed to dye my hair. My parents forbade it. My looking to be something or someone other than I was before I'd even grown into myself worried them. And they owned the bathroom. "Give me one good reason" said my dad. So I gave him ten. He kept them, all these years, and he gave me his permission. I spent a year dyeing my hair and the tips of my ears and then at fifteen, shaved it all off.
Now, at thirty two, it's crept back down to kiss my shoulders and I'm not sure what to do with it. I have two bottles of red hair dye and a reminder from my fourteen year old self that I should allow myself some frivolity and that I am still very loved.