A Day in Theodore’s Salon: Music, Laughter, and Payday

By Emmanuel Ajay

Theodore jumped into his Cressida and started its engine right away. As soon as it got into motion, Uncle Davies came charging towards him, reminding him about passing through the pharmacy for his special high blood pressure medication. After divorcing his wife 5 years ago and subsequently losing custody of both their matrimonial home and two children, he had gone through a very rough patch that saw him struggling to get life back together. Despite the tumultuous years that had passed since his divorce and custody loss, Theodore’s determination to rebuild his life never wavered. He had faced numerous challenges head-on, navigating through the dark abyss of despair and loneliness. However, through it all, one constant source of support had been his caring Uncle Davies. As the engine of the Cressida purred to life, Theodore appreciated the timely reminder about his high blood pressure medication. It was a small yet crucial detail that showcased Uncle Davies’ concern for his well-being. Despite the difficult circumstances, Theodore was grateful for the genuine love and understanding his family had shown him. With renewed determination, he set off towards the pharmacy, eager to take another step towards a brighter future and to cherish the relationships that had helped him find strength during his most challenging times.

Upon being retrenched from the textile company that he served for 15 years, he used almost all the money paid to him as a retrenchment package to purchase a house in Jegasburg. It so happened that his young wife, with whom he had an 18-year difference, was reported to be cheating on him with an unknown young fellow. As is the norm, bad news travels fast. It was a matter of time before someone from their neighborhood broke the heartbreaking news to him.

His unbecoming was that he did not summon patience and emotional intelligence to fathom the allegations as he decided to take matters into his own hands. He savagely beat his wife up after the latter refuted the allegations claiming that the fellow in question was just a childhood friend whom she had bumped into after many years, adding that there was nothing much that had transpired between them other than going out for lunch twice to socially catch up. What infuriated him was playing the fool as all that transpired under his nose, furthermore, anything could have happened.

The matter got out of hand as her parents, who had to nurse their daughter for over a month due to the grievous injuries she sustained from the rigorous assault, took the case to the courts which resulted in that fateful verdict. Upon hearing that he was then living a squalor lifestyle, Theodore took uncle Davies into his house, a development that yielded positive results. The resultant wallowing, in the aftermath of the court verdict, took a toll on his peace of mind thereby leading to the development of a high blood pressure condition. Upon moving to reside with his nephew, the condition which had crept in with veracity understood some conspicuous mitigation. Furthermore, Theodore assured him of his relentless support, which he rendered from time to time. Although he received clinical drugs for free at a local clinic, just like all the other individuals of the same medical disposition every month, his nephew had decided to go an extra mile by consulting private doctors who then recommended and prescribed additional medication to avert any chances of a relapse. It is this supplementary line of drugs that he had to remind Thompson about. Being the only surviving male sibling from his father’s family, Thompson loved him with all he had, let alone respected him for his experienced pieces of advice, even though he could not manage to put the life coaching he offered into practice. In any case, blood is thicker than water.

Theodore’s beast roared 15 minutes before the opening time and found itself by its traditional parking spot. As he walked to open his salon, he could see all her members of staff walking in the same direction. What was phenomenal was their ability to be at work on time day in and day out. Having left the Centre Bar in the early hours of the morning, it was commendable that the ladies had brushed hangover excuses aside and reported for duty.

“Morning ladies” he greeted them passionately.

“Morning Theo, how are you?” They all replied at the same time asking as they waited for him to open the entrance door.

“Better than yesterday of course” he replied.

“Yesterday, you were in a different world Theo,” said Lisa as she poked into the previous day’s state of affairs.

“Oh really, I thought everything was as usual as ever” he downplayed her statement flatteringly.

“Ummm you weren’t the Theo I know, there was something strange about you yesterday” she added to the poke.

“Maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but I’m all good my dear,” he said with pomp and light laughter as they all get down to the day’s preliminaries, with a dreadlocked couple checking in the midst of that.

“Good morning, you can wait for a few minutes by the couch while we set up” he quickly greeted and requested with a tone conveying courtesy.

“Morning Thom, need crocheting as usual my man” responded the male as they comfortably sat on the couch.

“No worries man, we’ll take care of that, just wait a little bit” he replied with a degree of reassurance.

“Cool man” the male client acknowledged.

All along, his partner was following the conversation with head nodding complemented by a broad smile that registered her optimism and conviction. At that very same juncture, the female who had requested to be completed the following day checked in and headed straight to the chair that she occupied the previous day as she greeted everyone with enthusiasm. In no time, the salon was a hive of activities with the ladies singing along to some soothing music playing as they took to their core chores. Theodore got busy with the male dreadlocked fellow, while Lisa got it going on with his partner. The beautiful lady and the other new member of staff resumed from where they had left the previous day, without wasting time, as they attended to the almost complete head of the lady who had checked in last.

“I GOT A FEELING….THAT TONIGHT’S GONNA BE A GOOD NIGHT….THAT TONIGHT’S GONNA BE A GOOD GOOD NIGHT….THAT TONIGHT’S GONNA BE A GOOD GOOD NIGHT” The saloon became a buzz of karaoke as the ladies sang along to Black-eyed-peas’ feel-good tune with the dreadlocked couple joining in to raise the mood.

It was a culture in that small-scale establishment that payday was the last day of the month. Theodore never compromised his motivational standards as he made sure to pay his staff as per their contractual bindings. Being a Friday, there was no better day to elate an employee’s spirits than paying them ahead of the weekend. That being the case, the mood in the salon was inclined to escalate as it often did during such times. He had reached grade 12 and only failed to proceed to university because his pass mark was not within the government scholarship threshold, a development that made him turn his career prospects to self-employment. What was gratifying was that he ventured into a business that he was passionate about such that it did not take long before opening his salon. His was not just an ordinary salon, but a state-of-the-art Health and Beauty hub. It had virtually all the specifications and attributes of modernity, let alone his business ethics, apart from being dented by his pedophile mannerism, were top notch.

Being that last day of the month, the girls knew that it was a matter of time before he walks into Farmers Bank to do the onus. Indeed that night was poised to be a good one. The mood had been set by Anisha’s early morning-ended savanna party. The teamwork that Theodore fostered through exemplary leadership complemented the soothing atmosphere that his free-spirited staff created despite their average remuneration. In any case, true happiness is not built around money, but the appreciation of life as an expensive gift and not a commodity.

9 August, 2023