The first cut is the deepest-From Matrix Magazine

I had been dreading this phone call for weeks. First, the hollow pleasantries, the how-are-yous, and the what-have-you-been-up-tos, until, at long last, we got down to the nitty gritty. Jessica wanted a haircut.

I could’ve said no. I could’ve said that I was busy. I could have told her my sickly mother needed tending to. Anything. But in a moment of weakness I relented. After all, she was my ex girlfriend.

Okay, for the record, Jessica and I were inseparable for five years. And in that time, as my lover and my muse I had grown her hair into long blonde locks, pixie-cut it short and dark and all the variations in between, as my mood took me from season to season. Hell, I even styled her hair to go to work in the morning. I made her wake up at 6am to cut and baby-pink wash her fringe. Her hair became her crowning glory. All and sundry would stop her and tell her that it looked fantastic.

Until one day she decided that she needed to be alone. Away from me that is. It was one of those it’s-not-you-it’s-me conversations that left me feeling like my insides had been pulled out of my chest and stomped on repeatedly, until I begged for a crack in the ground to open up and swallow me whole.

Months went by and I hadn’t seen or heard from her as I licked my tender wounds and soldiered on. I thought she would have moved on to another…err…hairdresser. But as fate would have it, she wanted, no, needed a haircut from me. A little bit of something she had grown accustomed to: very well looked after hair.

Imagine having to make your ex (insert gender here) friend look good! And for whom? To add salt to the wound, did she expect me to make her pretty and prepared for her new single life?

I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if I made her look like something dug up from the garden, with third degree burns from over-processed bleach. What about telling her green was the new black? Or perm and colour, also known as CURL UP AND DYE! What about a military short back and sides, or would only leaving a single tuft of hair send her to Single Hell for eternity.

But appointments were made with business-like efficiency, deciding it best be dealt with in the salon, and not at home where wondering eyes and hearts could be broken.

In the chair Jessica still looked great, just as I remembered. I noticed her new kitten heels and her blonde roots competing with her rich chocolate hair, and her fringe that hung like a clump over her eyes, giving a glint of a smile.

I swiftly placed ten magazines and five different beverages in front of her, to keep her from speaking. With my tools in hand and my heart on my sleeve, I began her new look. A single mantra circled around in my head as I incised and dyed with great authority: “Be Cool”.

After the last primping was over, I felt emotionally stretched. But - and I say this with no ego - Jessica looked good. No, in fact she looked better than good, she looked great. Sleek shoulder-skimming chocolate brown hair - something she could do herself without a hairstylist on hand - and a fresh splash of caramel in her new swept fringe to bring out those pretty blue eyes. She stood up and gushed in the mirror, flicking and giggling like a schoolgirl. She hugged and squeezed me tight, which was something I had longed for since she left.

I could never deliberately give her bad hair, not with our history together. Besides, that would be bad publicity. Truth be told, I just wanted us to get along, and start anew, even if we were no longer lovers. I gave her something fresh, something with spunk, something that would say that Jessica and I were still connected, and still in each other’s lives. Because I needed her, as she needed me.

So if the first cut is the deepest, will the next cut be any better? I guess I’ll be finding out in six to eight weeks.

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