I am going to tell you a story, it is 100% true although you won’t believe me. The story is about the birds that nest in my hair; they are named Percival and Stan. Percival is a graphic designer, although he fears that he has lost his creative edge, and Stan is a doctor who longs to be a sea captain. Every person with curly hair has their own birds, how else would we maintain such volume? Normally we don’t talk about it in case the people with straight hair get jealous, and besides the hair birds are notoriously private. However sick of being misrepresented in the media, on this one occasion Percival and Stan are happy for me to introduce them.
Percival and Stan do their best work at night. While I am sleeping they will ever so gently grab the end of a strand of hair with their tiny pink claws and twirl and twirl until the hair is wrapped tightly around their leg. Now this is where you can see the different personalities of Percival and Stan; Percival will stand as still as a statue occasionally tilting his head from side to side as if listening to the hair curl, Stan however fidgets and waits impatiently until the time he can release his claw and shimmy his leg out of the newly formed curl. Working their way around my sleeping head my two little hair birds’ work hard to curl every strand. Of course sometimes I’m not good at going to bed early enough for them to do all the curls, and on those days no matter how hard they work they just can’t finish before I wake up – and I end up with a straight piece of hair on either side of my head. That should teach me to go to bed earlier.
Although they do get on, Percival and Stan sometimes bicker and end up making a right mess of my hair. I think it is because they never stray far from my head (it is a round the clock job being a hair bird) so they can never really have any alone time. When they fight they use their blue beaks and stripy feather tips to emphasise their points, catching my hair as they do and making it so frizzy that it looks like I have been rubbing a balloon on my head! Their fights do not last long (unless Stan’s sea captain dreams are particularly acute that week) and they always make up in the end with a comforting chirp, but oh they do make such a mess. If they have been fighting a lot there really is nothing for it but for me to wash my hair so they can start the curls from scratch.
Once a quarter I give each bird a performance review. First Percival then Stan (always in alphabetical order to avoid giving offence) will perch on my finger tip and look at me rather intently, they get so nervous the poor things. We talk about any particularly beautiful curls they have created recently, and how they can improve next time (Stan always needs to work on the tips, they can be quite higgledy piggledy if he doesn’t pay attention). It can sometimes be very hard to give my birds feedback, Percival specialises in curls on the back of the head which I can’t even see!
What Percival and Stan do during the day depends on how I am wearing my hair. If I wear it out with the curls reaching in every direction, they will happily jump from curl to curl looking out at the world (I think they are trying to find inspiration for new and exciting curls). But if I tie my hair up or braid it they will snuggle down wherever the hair is the thickest and dream sweet dreams. On those days I can feel the soft vibrations against my head as my hair birds’ snore and snuffle the day away.
Next time you see me please give my hair a nod or a wave, you might not be able to see them but Percival and Stan will be watching and love feeling acknowledged. Oh and if you particularly like one of the curls please let me know, I can use it in their next performance review.
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