Forget social media. To announce one’s arrival back on this small, small, island? Head to the neighbourhood hair salon!
The door is pushed open, and my hair stylist from 2000- 2008 sweeps me into his arms. On cue, Front Desk chimes, Welcome, back, Mrs Chan! Long time no see! How’s your arm?
Enter downstage left, Aunty X, mother of-, best friends with–, mother-in-law of —-, and wife of.
You’ve lost so much weight! She says exchanging kisses (both cheeks, if you’re wondering what sort of etiquette we practise on this island).
Sighted at 8 o’clock, #scary, best friends with —-, part of the ____ lunch table. Her eyes are not cast in my direction. Ah! My opportunity to dodge and run for cover.
Bangs! Miki has added long, side bangs to my cut. Depending on the angle I hold my head, I can hide half my face, block out what I don’t want to see. I love you, Miki.
I think she’s only scary if you’re hiding from her… My 1st text received.
Tammy? I think we should go darker today. It’s winter! Esther, hair colourist and technician extraordinaire declares.
(Note: It is winter in the Western Hemisphere but 100 degrees on this tropical island.)
Baby, I didn’t see you, so I parked. I was looking for a blond!
I love you, Esther. I wonder if dark hair will offer disguise over the next few days in Singapore.
2nd text: #scary is married to my cousin!
More texts, my phone is jumping. And another thing…I stayed at her… flat… !!!
Later that night, dinner on a picturesque street.
The host is cousins with—- and sitting right beside him is one of my husband’s best friends.
Both men share an extended family. All three men once went to elementary school at Baker Road/Cairnhill. My mother-in-law has taught the host’s wife. She went to high school with my husband’s cousin, and once worked with my brother-in-law. Her brother has seen me dance.
This is a very strange city, I say.
A village, she concurs.
- Esther and Miki colour and cut at 6-738-8006