It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still. I looked down near my Docs then up into the mirror to gauge Margo’s reaction. There wasn’t one. The other girls seemed to be watching for one, too. Instead, silence suffocated the salon.
“Is that okay?” I said, my voice feeling like monstrous thunder in the still of the salon. I retrieved the five inch thick curl of hair from the floor and held it up for Margo to view.
“I s’pose,” Margo hummed. “But I may want even more cut off after yer done, okay?”
I continued cutting Margo’s silver and black hair and wondered why she was wanting such a change. This was her first time with me. Actually, it was her first time in the salon. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been in a salon to get her hair done, but she needed a change. “Desperately,” Margo added, dropping her eyes from mine.
She wanted a little life put back into her hair, she told me. Something that wouldn’t require her to color it, nor require much maintenance. She couldn’t afford to do either, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t referring to just money.
There was something about Margo that intrigued me more-so than most first time clients, and I found myself trying to get her to talk more.
“I bet you’ll be a lot cooler with shorter hair,” I smiled, focusing on cutting.
“That’d be nice.”
“Has it ever been short?”
“Not since I was a kid.”
What was it about this woman that I needed to know?
“Have you ever tried blowing your hair out?”
Margo shifted in her seat before answering, “It’s just too much work. I’d love it straight, but we all want what we don’t have.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” I snickered.
I looked at the mirror and found Margo’s eyes and immediately felt something that I really don’t know how to describe. A connection of sorts, perhaps? I’m not sure, but I needed to keep this woman talking. It felt necessary.
“What?” she softly asked when our eyes met. “What is it you want that you don’t have?”
Love…happiness…peace, my brain shouted, but instead I smiled and said, “Oh ya know, the usual stuff: my own home, a new car n stuff.”
“Hmm,” a grin washed across Margo’s face. “That’s just ‘stuff’ though. Is there anything you want that doesn’t cost money?”
“Of course,” I replied, trying to focus on more cutting; Margo had a lot of hair.
With another grin washing across her face, Margo continued: “One of my favorite quotes is from Picasso: ‘Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.’”
Our eyes met again, and again there was that… spark.
I thought about what she said for a moment and her eyes dropped back down into her lap like they had done when she first sat down with me. I continued cutting her hair when suddenly I blurted out, “Is that why you’re cutting off all this hair?”
Immediately I wished it back. I don’t know why I had become so defensive. But when I finally looked back at Margo, she was grinning again. And she was looking into my eyes again with so much kindness.
“My hair, for me,” she said smiling, “is just more ‘stuff’. It doesn’t really matter in the long run, ya know?”
I returned her smile and noticed her blue eyes started to shine and that, in turn, made me start to well up as well.
I finished cutting her hair and when it was all said and done, she smiled big again, shook her head and curls and thanked me, telling me I did a great job, that I was right to start cutting it longer.
A couple weeks later, I got a card in the mail at the salon. It was from Margo with no last name, no return address. The front of the card had an image of someone sitting on a bench watching the sunset. Inside the card was a handwritten note:
John Steinbeck said, “I wonder how many people
I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
I want you to know that I saw you,
the REAL you and you deserve love and happiness.
You just got to believe that. Truly believe it.
Thanks for the great hair cut!
well, this was new for me… i’m not one to generally go sappy when writing fiction. hope it was still enjoyable.