LIGHTER by Linda Simoni-Wastila

The sign across the street winked neon: Walk-ins Welcome. Bells jingled when I pushed the glass door. A sleepy-looking woman looked up from a magazine.

“Is it too late for a haircut?”

“I can take you now,” she said.

I followed her to the back. Chairs reclined against industrial sinks. She lowered the heft of my hair into the tub. Warm water pulsed over my scalp and her gentle hands worked soap into lather. Head wrapped in terry, I trailed her to the front window and perched in a chair before the large mirror. She unwound the towel and my hair, au-lait brown from the shampooing, cascaded down my back.

“Just a trim?”

“Cut it off.”

“All of it?”

“To my shoulders.”

“But you have beautiful hair,” she said.

I shrugged; time for something new. She combed with care, starting from the bottom. Shears rasped through the strands. I closed my eyes. With each snip, I remembered: Ben slowly unbraiding my hair, kissing my bared neck, sending shivers down my spine.

But he was gone. The blow-dryer seared my cheeks, scattering small bristles down my neckline. On the radio Elton John wailed about yellow brick roads. She swiveled me around to face my reflection.

Long clumps of gold covered the scuffed linoleum floor, my lap, the tips of my shoes peeking beneath the nylon smock. Piles and piles of my hair. My chest filled with unexpected pressure.

For some reason, I thought I would feel lighter.


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Filed under Linda Simoni-Wastila

7 responses to “LIGHTER by Linda Simoni-Wastila

  1. Well written look into our hopes that if we make a change, the thing that changed us without asking can then be controlled. Nicely done, Linda.

  2. guy

    Love this one. I think it’s the barber shop. I picture it in twilight, in burgundy light where it isn’t completely dark. There’s dialogue but not much emotional interaction between characters. I think that’s just right for the shade of blue you’re working in.

    • Guy, I love your comment. The shade of blue I’m working on. This is actually a scene that jumps off from my first novel, which I’m currently destroying in hopes of building up again. Ah, words. Thanks, and peace…

  3. Such a vibrant image! I’m totally addicted to this art form. Thank You for sharing.

  4. After ‘But he was gone.’ I start to feel the pressure starting to build (but then you back off–excellent technique), but as the hair piles up, coupled with ‘Ben slowly unbraiding my hair, kissing my bared neck, sending shivers down my spine.’, I feel it more, then when she felt, so did I. Just masterful, especially the admission at the end.

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