Rhia looked at her long tresses, caressing them, playing with them – sometimes tying them in a top knot, sometimes in a half pony, using her fingers to hold them up for a few seconds before letting them fall down again. She spent a full fifteen minutes preening in front of the mirror.
It wasn’t just the hair. Could she actually trust the hairstylist? What if he messed up? What if the new look actually didn’t suit her? Was she doing the right thing by putting in so much faith in a stranger – that too with her thick, luxurious tresses.
She loved her hair. Parting with them was painful enough. What if she later regretted it? Once chopped off, she wouldn't get them back. Rhia thought for a moment longer. ? There was no rewind button in life. Did she really want to do this? From somewhere inside of her came a resounding ‘yes’.
Raisha, lying on her bed, her body wrecked with the chemotherapy coursing through her body, watched her antics with a mixture of mild amusement and longing. With the shampoo-ad worthy poker straight hair cascading down her back, Rhia looked like a walking advertisement for any hair product. In fact, Raisha often would mockingly threaten to chop off all the lush hair and auction it off. Rhia would laugh and retort, ‘I don’t care!’
Little did Raisha know this joke would come back to haunt her for life. She was the one who had become bald even before she turned thirty. Raisha knew she’d win the battle against the Cancer demon but the war they waged against each other was long and exhausting. Besides, a fashionista herself, losing her crowning glory- albeit nothing compared to Rhia’s- was the most painful thing.
The next day when the sisters met, they looked almost identical – much like how they looked as kids.
After a full minute of staring at Rhia in stupefied silence, Raisha found words to frame a coherent sentence. ‘You did this for me?’ Tears welled up in her eyes at the magnanimity of her fraternal twin’s sacrificial gesture.
Rhia grinned at the stunned Raisha. ‘Nah! I’ve heard this is the latest fashion.’ She ran a hand over her bald pate.