I have been waiting for Deirdre, who is a top hairdresser, to come back from Paris where she has been teasing tresses for the catwalk shows. Because, you see, it is now time for my first haircut. Nurse Lottie’s parting words echo in my head: “Get it all cut off again Lily. The first growth will be rubbish!” She is not wrong. Whilst I wouldn’t say that my hair is exactly “rubbish”, it has grown back quite wiry - and it's curly! When I arise in the morning it has assumed the ‘squashed feather duster’ effect: high and bouffy on top yet flat on the sides.
A few weeks ago, a beautiful grey Burmese kitten came to live at Watsons Bay. Felix is ostensibly Lyla and Lily’s pet but really Samantha and I are in love with him and vie for his attention in surreptitious ways. He is a most affectionate cat. He loves to languish on my lap or wrap himself sinuously around my legs as I stumble my way down the stairs.
Then, only a couple of days ago, Lola arrived. Lola is a pug puppy. She is beige with black ears and a black face, the size of two pats of butter with legs attached. She is as cute as a button.
I settle down on the couch to read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. This vast novel is beautifully written, vibrantly descriptive of street life in Bombay and peppered with profound insights into the beauty and the terror, the rapture and the cruelty, of being human. I have been riveted.
Felix drapes himself across my chest, stretched full length and purring. It is a moment of perfect bliss. But Lola feels left out. She patrols up and down the side of the couch making frantic little jumps to try to get up. I turn my concentration to my book. The last time Lola got on the couch she peed on the cushions. She starts crying a sad little puppy lament. She continues prancing and crying for ten full minutes. After I have re-read the same paragraph about a dozen times I relent. “Ok Lola, up you come,” I say, scooping her into the palm of my hand.
Lola steps on Felix’s stomach. Felix digs his claws into my breast. I scream. Felix leaps to the floor. Lola snuffles delightedly, charges forward onto my head and sets about determinedly chewing at my hair. If this puppy simply chews my new hair off I won’t be needing the services of an international session stylist after all.