Friday, January 28, 2011

The Big Freeze

I sat staring in the mirror as she pulled first a brush and then her gloved hands through my hair. The bright purple dye spread evenly. I wondered how something so bright and vivid in color would turn out to be a soft red in my hair. I only half heard her start a conversation. My eyes flicked up to see her face in the reflection. She chatted amicably, but never took her eyes from my hair. If she had, she would have seen the coolness on my face.

"So anyway, this guy that I saw just before you starts telling me all about his girlfriend. He was so jovial about it! That's the kicker, you know what I mean? He is sitting in the chair talking about his girlfriend while twisting his wedding ring."

She paused. "Hold on a second Melinda. I need to get a little more color."

I watched her walk away and felt ice form at the base of my neck, extending down my spine. I was staring in the mirror when she returned.

She picked up another section of my hair and began painting a mahogany color on it. When it was rinsed out and dried, it would be a beautiful deep brown color that would look softer next to the more vibrant red.

"I mean, Melinda, you're married. What would you do if you found out your husband was cheating on you? Oh my God, you'd kill him wouldn't you? I mean who wouldn't? I just can't imagine."

She prattled on another few minutes before asking me if I wanted something to drink and then disappearing for 20 minutes. I appreciated the quiet time. There were so many things I needed to think about.

An hour later I was rinsed, dried, and styled. "What do you think? Do you like the color?" she asked.

Dryly, I said, "It's beautiful." I looked straight ahead.

"Okay. You don't sound very pleased. What do you want me to change?" She sounded concerned. A client of hers was leaving unhappy. Even the 'new talent' would offer to make amends and then involve a more senior stylist in repairing the damage. But there was nothing she could do to repair it.

I stood up hastily. Looking her dead in the eyes I responded with a cold so deep that she froze in her tracks. "Next time you want to gossip about another of your clients, make sure the one your telling isn't married to the one you are talking about."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

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