The woman’s hands were in my hair before I could stop her.
I was sitting on a bench outside the Grand Junction bus station, piecing together a Lunchable before my next transfer, when she walked up behind me–her skin tanned and leathery, her breath warm and pungent–and grabbed hold of my hair, twisting it between her fingers. Tangling it into knots.
She was a beggar, this woman. Her own hair stringy, dreadlocked. I turned and looked her in the face. My heart sped up and I dropped a cracker.
“Such pretty hair,” she drawled. “My mother had red hair.”
I stammered a thank you and made to stand up.
“I wish I could just—ha!” She brandished the air like a pair of scissors and made a mocking hack at my hair. “–Snip it off and sew it onto mine.” She smiled devilishly and fondled her dreadlocks.
I excused myself and walked to the nearest trash can as if to discard my lunch. I would walk around the entire station to get back in before I’d invite any more attention from outside.