Melbourne Train Girl's hair has not been cut in over a year. It used to be rather cropped, but now twelve months' growth sees it reaching almost past her shoulders.
She sat in the half darkness of her bedroom and folded the front section of her hair across her forehead. Standing back from the mirror, she tried to imagine that tucked under piece of hair as a fringe. With a sudden snap her mind clicked and locked itself into decision. She stood. Determinedly. And walked to the bathroom.
Turning on the tap, she ran her hands first under the cold water and then through her hair. With delicate precision she took a black comb with six missing teeth and sectioned off a perfectly symmetrical portion of hair at the front of her head, tying the rest back.
Finally, with the only sharp pair of scissors she owned; a pair of stainless steel dressmakers' scissors; she made one defiant cut exactly level with her nose. She then took her comb and two fingers, and began to snip along the width of the fringe until it sat just above her eyebrows. Once satisfied it was as even as she could make it with the cumbersome scissors, she dried it with her sister's hairdryer and then stood back to look.
She thinks she liked it.
With a slightly hysterical laugh, Melbourne Train Girl stared at herself, turning left and then right, combing the new fringe with her fingers. Then, realising the haircut had made her late, she hastily threw on her red coat and left for the train station.
"We thought you weren't coming! And you've brought a fringe!" she was greeted at the bar.
The first time she went to the bathroom that evening she shocked herself when she looked up into the mirror from washing her hands.
The second time she was more prepared, and smiled at her reflection.
Later, as she walked towards Cookie with a friend she mused aloud "I've never been here before, but I've heard about it. And from what I've heard I think my new fringe will fit in quite well."
On the train home a shifty looking man with a shaved head and large red bag at his feet sat opposite Melbourne Train Girl and stared at her with red, swollen eyes. The door between the carriages opened with a dull thunk and three Connex officers walked through. The man began to shift nervously in his seat, moving is head from left to right whilst covering his forehead and eyes with his hand. Melbourne Train Girl decided he either had no ticket or was worried about something entirely different and much more serious and exciting.
She waited for the officers to ask passengers for their tickets, but they never did. Instead they chatted to each other before one decided he would try and fix the broken door closer on the door they had come through. One minute later the second male officer went to help, and in ten minutes time the three of them left the train, one carrying the now broken off piece of door hardware in his coat pocket.
The man opposite Melbourne Train Girl resumed his staring. She tried to ignore it and kept writing.
The train pulled into her station, and as she stood up to leave the man spoke. In a drawl, slow and thick like golden syrup, he said "Your hair is awesome man..."
"Thanks!" she replied as she smiled and jumped off the train. Once at her car she saw her reflection in the dark windows and decided he was right.
She wonders how the Short Boy feels about Bettie Page...