HOLLY STARTED HER FRIDAY MORNING well by getting up early. However, although she had gone to bed full of optimism and excited about the prospects that lay ahead of her, she was struck afresh by the harsh reality of how difficult every moment would be. Once again she awoke to a silent house in an empty bed, but there was one small breakthrough. For the first time in over two months, she had woken up without the aid of a telephone call. She adjusted her mind, as she did every morning, to the fact that the dreams of Gerry and her being together that had lived in her mind for the past ten hours were just that – dreams.
She showered and dressed comfortably in her favorite blue jeans, trainers and a baby pink T-shirt. Sharon had been right about her weight, her once tight jeans were just about staying up with the aid of a belt. She made a face at her reflection in the mirror. She looked ugly. She had black circles under her eyes, her lips were chapped and chewed on and her hair was a disaster. First thing to do was to go down to her local hairdresser’s and pray they could squeeze her in.
“Jaysus, Holly!” her hairdresser Leo exclaimed. “Would ya look at the state of ya! People make way! Make way! I have a woman here in a critical condition!” He winked at her and proceeded to push people from his path. He pulled out the chair for her and pushed her into it.
“Thanks, Leo. I feel really attractive now,” Holly muttered, trying to hide her beetroot-colored face.
“Well don’t, ‘cos you’re in bits. Sandra, mix me up the usual; Colin, get the foil; Tania, get me my little bag of tricks from upstairs, oh and tell Paul not to bother getting his lunch, he’s doing my twelve o’clock.” Leo ordered everyone around, his hands flailing wildly as though he were about to perform emergency surgery. Perhaps he was.
“Oh sorry, Leo, I didn’t mean to mess up your
“Of course you did, love, why else would you come rushing in here at lunchtime on a Friday without an appointment. To help world peace?”
Holly guiltily bit her lip.
“Ah, but I wouldn’t do it for anyone else but you, love.”
“How have you been?” He rested his skinny little behind on the counter facing Holly. Leo must have been fifty years old, yet his skin was so flawless and his hair, of course, so perfect that he didn’t look a day over thirty-five. His honey-colored hair matched his honey-colored skin, and he always dressed perfectly. He was enough to make a woman feel like crap.
“Yeah, you look it.”
“Ah well, at least by the time you walk out of here you’ll have one thing sorted. I do hair, not hearts.”
Holly smiled gratefully at his odd little way of showing he understood.
“But Jaysus, Holly, when you were coming in the front door did you see the word ‘magician’ or ‘hairdresser’ on the front of the salon? You should have seen the state of the woman who came in here today. Mutton dressed as lamb. Not far off sixty, I’d say. Handed me a magazine with Jennifer Aniston on the cover.
” ‘I want to look like that,’ she says.”
Holly laughed at his impression. He had the facial expression and the hand movements all going at the same time.
” ‘Jaysus,’ I says, ‘I’m a hairdresser not a plastic surgeon. The only way you’ll look like that is if you cut out the picture and staple it to your head.’ “
“No! Leo, you didn’t tell her that!” Holly’s mouth dropped in surprise.
“Of course I did!