I’m new to this blogging shindig, hence I’m still figuring stuff out. Thus I’ve decided to have Mondays dedicated to reminiscing the past. This is the first (of many, I hope) post dedicated to Monday Musings.
The steady taka-taka of a train has always put me in a contemplative mood. I look through the window to the whizzing by forests and fields and try to tune out my brother and sister. They are fighting… okay, having a spirited discussion. We do that a lot, my siblings and I. I’ve heard that as blood relations we are allowed.
“Look, look!” yells my brother (lets, call him Dylan). “Deer!”
I scratch my head because I don’t see them. Well, not just because, but more on that later… Too many trees, too deep in thought. I finally do spot them. They are jumping and running along the tracks, trying to outrun this giant iron monster that huffs and puffs and cuts through their forest.
My sister (let’s call her Sis) watches in awe and scratches her head. A rare and short-lived occurrence occurs with our lot. Total blissful silence in our train compartment—one of those eight-seat cubicles with faux leather couches.
Unable to outrun the speeding behemoth, the deer disappear. My brother plasters his face to the glass, trying to glimpse some more.
“Lost them,” he huffs as he slumps back in his seat. And scratches his head.
Backtrack a little.
My siblings and I are on that train going to my grandparents. Summer break. Ah, the mischief we plan to have. Our two favorite cousins are already there, at the village, a one-horse community of about 300 residents. Mostly senior citizens. And their grandchildren.
It’s quite the tradition in my country to send children to their grandparents for the summer.
My siblings and I are on that train scratching our heads due to lice. Yes, that shameful infestation has reached us too. Actually, it was courtesy of our two favorite cousins. You see, their parents are amid a divorce. Their mother has run off with a gypsy. I kid you not.
Gypsies in Bulgaria aren’t your romantic Irish Travellers from Snatch (Brad Pitt, I’m right?) or sexy Johnny Depp from Chocolate. No. Ours are Romani. Uneducated, shifty, thieving… and lice-ridden.
Therefore, via their mother, the girls—our two favorite cousins—have acquired some “hair pets”. And via them, we—my siblings and I—have acquired them as well.
Imagine the magnitude – four girls from the age of eight to twelve, with hair from blonde to black, from stick-straight to corkscrew curls. And a boy who at the age of ten, albeit with short hair, is too pretty to tell apart from us girls.
It was a summer of games, a summer of mischief, a summer of… nitpicking.
Happy days, sunny days. Pour gasoline on your hair days…
If you weren’t aware, gasoline is a home remedy for getting rid of lice. Just don’t do it while smoking. Or near a fire-juggler.
We use old toothbrushes to apply the “remedy” and I see the little critters try to crawl their way out of the hairline of whomever I assist with that task. I imagine them squeaking, “Run, Buster, RUN! There is the end of the forest. We almost outrun the giant bristly monster!”
Alas, they haven’t. I brush them back inside the “gas chamber”.
My hair always felt a pound lighter after. Or at least less crawly.
But the nits, the stubborn nits. They stay attached. You need to disengage them manually. One-by-one. Or try to convince four tween divas to lose their hair to the shears.
My siblings and I, and our two favorite cousins sit on the stone steps in front of Granma’s house—those are in the walled inner yard, not in view of the village—and fine-comb out hairs, search for those pesky pests and pop, pop pop them between our nails.
There are five stone steps. And five children. A chimpanzee chain of grooming.
Sometimes we divide our tresses into manageable sectors and divide those sectors into small pigtails (?). IDK. The final result is a cross-breed between a punk singer and a jester’s hat.
Unfortunately, that’s before the age of sefies and digital cameras, so there is limited footage. And none from those particular days. Happy days, nitpicking days.
It was a very bonding experience. Not unlike the time we got the scabies two years prior…