I fear for my life more and more these days. My childrens’ too.
Every six weeks, to be precise. That’s when we visit the local Turkish Barber.
We used to go to a unisex salon. It was a safe space to take my children. Sure, there were scissors in use. But we never saw blood spilled, only hair clippings.
The young women who cut our hair were gentle. They spoke softly and asked the boys what they’d been doing at school.
The element of danger was very small.
Now we go Turkish. Instead of young women, there are young men with fierce facial hair. Naked blades are on display – razors, knives, daggers. Maybe even the odd machete.
Their hands are a blur. The blades shine brightly, like the sweat on my brow.
The men speak rarely, merely making one-word demands, such as ‘Eyebrows?’ or ‘Shorter?’
I fear to say no to them.
Sometimes they offer me Turkish coffee, but I have yet to pluck up the courage to accept. My adrenaline and cortisone levels are already elevated. I don’t need a week’s supply of caffeine on top. If I start to shake, I may lose an ear.
Once they wrapped my head in a steaming hot towel, I don’t know why. Afterwards my head turned purple. They did not explain their actions, and I did not question them.
We could leave, of course. We could go back to the gentle maidens with their kind words and health & safety certificates. But the Turkish Barbers might hear of our betrayal. They might track us, and hunt us down.
They are ruthless.
Besides, they have given me a loyalty card. Just two more visits and they will give us a free haircut.
And so I pledge them my loyalty.
Today’s the day for our next visit. Wish us luck.