This was originally written in my memoir writers’ group as a free write. Then I entered it in a Faith Writers Challenge and now, it’s here to amuse you!
Don’t forget to check out the other funny stories, poems, excerpts and comics at: The Purple Treehouse
Arguably the hardest part of moving frequently is leaving my hairdresser behind. It takes about six months, at least, to cull through the options and find the individual who can work magic on my fine, straight, dishwater-blond hair. That’s longer than it takes to find a mechanic, a doctor, a favorite coffee shop or a good grocery store. That’s because you have to visit those places more frequently. But, when you’re trying not to break the bank on vanity, you must limit visits to the stylist to no more than every eight weeks.
My husband and I moved from Fort Bragg, NC, to Fort Benning, GA, in March of 2006. I’m all about saving money, so as usual, my first two gambles were at Master Cuts and Super Cuts. I keep thinking that one of them MUST have a diamond in the rough who can cut hair like she is being paid four times what she really charges.
By the sixth month, I had moved on to beauty schools. A young girl who went to our church was nearly finished with the stylist’s program at Chattahoochee Beauty Academy. Natalie had an edgy, chick, short cut. I failed to consider that she probably didn’t cut her own hair. So, wanting to support a friend, I set an appointment with her.
I sat nervous and rigid on the cracking plastic seat. Natalie suggested a perm to “lift” my limp hair and “give it some body.” While she pulled and twisted and then squirted my hair with the offensive smelling processor, I watched other students mangle and chop mannequin hair. It took forever! Either from fear or boredom, about three hours into the ordeal, I closed my eyes and started to doze.
“OK, Abby. Let’s move over to the sink and remove the rods.” Natalie poked me and escorted me to the row of ugly, gold sinks along the far wall. I tipped my head back ignoring the discomfort of the edge digging into my spine, in favor of concentrating on long finger nails massaging my scalp and warm water trickling over my cheeks. Even if she ruined my hair, at least this was indulgent, right?
I thought so, until I looked up and saw Natalie’s eyes widening with horror and disbelief. Her face hovered over my own; I’m sure she wanted to be anywhere but there. I started to wonder what she was seeing, but I kept my mouth shut. I thought I saw her eyes even watering.
By the time I was tipped upright and my hair spun up into a towel, I was starting to think I shouldn’t remove the towel at all. Natalie led me to my plastic seat again, pulled the towel down and ran her fingers through would-be curls.
Now, I felt my own eyes watering. What had been fine hair was now translucent hair. Sprigs of frizz poked out or limped down depending on which way their rod had been rolled, but not a single strand boasted vitality, body or life.
“Do you want me to style it for you?” Natalie’s voice cracked.