Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Idea Number Four: Results
Prompt: I stared at the pile of hair on the floor
Courtesty of Timothy Forry
“You don’t have to go through with this.”
We locked eyes in the mirror.
“I want to do this, Sam. “ Alice said to me.
As if to reinforce this, she tightened the towel around her neck with one hand.
The scissors felt cold against my palm. I lifted a lock of her silky, chestnut hair. I opened the scissor blades and placed them on either side of the lock, close to her scalp. The muscles in my hand twitched. I couldn’t get them to work.
She reached behind the chair with her free hand and found my knee. She gave it a reassuring squeeze.
I took a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if she understood just how much this meant to me.
I jumped back, startled. My heart beat so hard I could hear the blood rushing through my veins. I looked at her in the mirror to make sure I hadn’t accidentally sliced off her ear.
She was laughing at me.
“Don’t do that! I could have cut you.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Alice wiggled in the chair, cleared her throat and composed her face. “You just look way too serious.”
“Would it help if I made the ‘Blue Steel’ face?” I squinted my eyes slightly and sucked in my cheeks like Ben Stiller in Zoolander, our favorite pick-me-up movie.
Alice guffawed, followed by a snort.
“Oh, that’s much better.” She reached up and touched the patch of shortened hair. “Now keep going, before you chicken out.”
The next snip was difficult, too, but then it got easier after each lock of hair fluttered to the bare wood floor. I worked slowly, admiring the sheen and silken texture. Alice had always taken pride in her hair. I wanted to treat it with respect. Treat her with respect.
I had never doubted that she would be here for me, the same as I would do for her, but I was shocked when she told me:
If you have to lose all of your hair, so do I. And I’ll keep it that way until you’re better.
I had worked my way around her entire head. Uneven clumps stuck up everywhere. There was one last, long bit of wavy hair hanging down her back. I held onto the end and snipped it off, close to the skin. Before I let it fall, Alice stopped me.
“Wait. Give that to me.”
I surrendered the tress. She stood up, shook the towel onto the floor after wiping her neck, then left the room.
I stared at the pile of hair on the floor. It was the result of 15 years of growing; almost as long as Alice and I have been friends. That hair had seen Alice go through a divorce, a string of lackluster relationships, a failed business venture, a miscarriage, and the death of her father. I felt my eyes welling up.
“Oh, no. Don’t start that again.” Alice came back into the room. The lock of hair dangled from her fingers, a pink bow tied around the end.
I smiled at her. I explained what I'd been thinking.
“Oh, yeah, it’s seen some bad times. But, it also saw the birth of Lacey, that amazing trip we took to Italy, your wedding day with Robbie. That’s what this lock of hair is.” She held it up. “The good memories.”
Alice always had a way of seeing the bright side. No matter what.
She plucked the towel from floor and wrapped it around her neck and sat back down. She picked the electric razor off of the table and held it up in the air, waving it at me.
“Okay, finish this.” She said. “I want to rock this look out on the town tonight. We are soooo going for margaritas.”
"All right. You got it."
I took the clippers from her and took another look at her. The short hair really let her blue eyes shine. Her face always glowed, not matter how long or short her hair was.
She winked at me as I flicked the “on” button.
Better. I already felt better.