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"I Thought It Was Alive!"

A tale of an unleashed hair tail

By Lana V LynxPublished 12 days ago 2 min read
Image by DALL-E

Before one of my last classes, my students and I for some reason got into the discussion of hair and I remembered an incident from my youth.

In 1987, I was taking a train from Bishkek to Moscow to take entrance exams to the Moscow State University. The train ride was long, three days and three nights. Our sleeping car had several sections, and in our open section there were four berths: two lower ones and two on top. I was 17 and traveling alone for the first time, and my grandfather had to use his WW2 veteran perk to get me the coveted lower berth.

I was traveling with a family: a married couple in their 60s (which seemed incredibly old to me then) and their adult daughter who was probably around 30-35, also too old for a 17-year-old. It didn't take them too long to persuade me to switch my seat for the top berth: "You are so much younger, it's much easier for you to climb up there." So I switched seats with the man.

Before we all retired for the night, we made quite good acquaintances. We shared the food (that was the tradition on the Soviet trains: everyone puts out everything their mothers and wives packed for them, to share with other passengers), they listened to my stories and were quite impressed that I finished secondary school with the highest honors - the Gold Medal - and had the guts to travel to Moscow all by myself.

They also complimented me on my hair. I'd always had long, thick and luscious dark hair. My mother cut it for the last time when I was about four, and since then just trimmed it. She also taught me how to take good care of it with various home-made masks and proper brushing. At the time, my braided hair's ends reached my knees.

When it came time to sleep, I changed into my pajamas, went to brush my teeth and wash my face, and climbed up to the top berth. At 17, I had no trouble falling asleep, especially to the rhythm of the moving train, and slept like a log.

Except for the time when in the middle of the night I felt I was in free fall, with a horrible pain in the back of my head. When I landed on the floor and looked around, I saw the end of my braid in the man's hand. He sat up on his berth, horrified. "I'm so so sorry," he said, repeatedly striking my head apologetically like a little girl's, "I thought it was alive, like something was crawling on my face! Does it hurt too much?"

It turned out that my braid unleashed itself and was freely dangling from the top berth. It was so long that it reached the man's face. Deeply asleep, he got scared because he'd thought it was some small animal's tail, grabbed it and yanked me off my berth. Good thing we folded the table for the night or I would have hurt myself really badly. We all laughed about it and for the next two nights I made sure that my braid stayed close to the wall.


About the Creator

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and short fiction. For my own sanity and security, I write under a pen name. My books: Moscow Calling - 2017 and President & Psychiatrist

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Comments (7)

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  • L.C. Schäfer9 days ago

    I feel I should say sorry for laughing!

  • I could see this happening! I could see myself "being" that old man if this ever happened to me!!! Haha! Well done, Lana!

  • Omggggg hahahahahahhahahaha I'm so sorryyyyy I know it was painful but I can't help but laugh 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  • Rachel Deeming12 days ago

    That must have been a rude awakening for you both!

  • Andrea Corwin 12 days ago

    Geesh what an experience!! 🙀

  • A hairy story! Good work!

  • Well done.

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