As I lay in bed I thought back to what Megan and I talked about at lunch. It was the type of question that was awkward and could open a serious can of worms. I had no choice but to ask it.
“What attracted you to me?”
The lights were out and he was trying to fall asleep, but I knew he wasn’t sleeping. I knew this was a messed-up time to ask what I did, but I didn’t have to look at him now when I asked. Now was the only time I could muster up the courage.
He ignored me.
I shook his shoulder. “When you first saw me in the restaurant, what was it that made you ask me out?”
“Why are you asking me this now?” was his answer.
“Because I want to know now.”
“Do you think I remember back that long?”
“If I tell you, can I go back to sleep?”
I met him three years, nine months before when I was waitressing on weekends to pick up a little extra money. He flirted with me and asked for my number. I enjoyed the flirting, and he was cute, but I didn’t give out my number to customers. You never know what kind of creeps they are.
Over the course of the next six months I regretted it, though. It was fate when I saw him at a party and I made sure I didn’t blow it. But now things weren’t as good. I didn’t know what it was, but things were not the same between us. When Megan asked the question, I didn’t know the answer. I thought it was important.
He turned on the light, pushed my shoulder length hair behind my ears and looked into my blue eyes. “I would ask why you’re asking this question, but I probably don’t want to know. I doubt you’d give me an answer I’d like,” he said. “Yeah. I remember the day I met. I remember you shooting me down and thinking it wasn’t going to happen with this girl.”
“And? Why did you want it to happen with this girl?”
“I’ve never told you or anyone else this, so it’s going to sound weird.”
I was eager with anticipation. “Yeah?”
“It was your hair. I don’t know if you remember, but your hair was short, about to here.” He gently put his fingers just below my ears. “The way it fell forward was cute. The way you pushed it behind your ears was cute. And the back. The way it contrasted with the sides was even cuter.”
“Wow. I never knew you were into hair.”
“I’m not. I mean I love running my fingers through your hair and I sometimes see a haircut on a woman that I do a double take, but usually I don’t notice. With you, on that day I knew I had to get to know you.”
“And I blew you off.”
“Yeah. But you’re here now. Can I go back to sleep?”
He turned over and fell asleep. I lay there realizing that I’d gotten what I was looking for and maybe more. I’d gotten the short haircut on a whim, because I always liked trying something new. I liked it, but I was busy and let my hair grow out. Then I just decided to let it grow long.
By the time I saw him at the party, it was past my chin. He never said a thing. I never knew he liked the short haircut. The way he played with my hair I thought he loved my hair long.
Megan was right. A simple question could yield a key to the past.
“That’s the whole story, Denise. You know me, I’m adventurous. I’ll try anything that might work.”
Denise brushed my long hair forward and took the center lock which covered my nape. She held it out and cut over a foot off. I tried to see in the mirror, but I would have had to have had eyes in the back of my head on this one. Unsatisfied the cut was uneven, she clipped the hair so the entire lock was the same length.
She pulled back a little more hair from the left side, found her guideline, another foot off. Overdirecting the rest of the hair behind left ear to the back, she cut off another foot of hair. I could see what she was doing now and smiled. The cut was coming back.
There was only one long clump of hair left on the left-hand side. She overdirected that back and cut it to about 2 inches. I looked so weird in the mirror. The right-hand side was long past my shoulder, while the left was just past my ear.
Denise combed the hair down and saw it was uneven. She carefully snipped the stray hairs, so that all the hair was even at the bottom of the earlobe.
“Okay. All done,” Denise said.
“You have a real bad sense of humor,” I answered.
“Oh right. I’m supposed to do both sides.”
Denise took a section from the right side, wet it, and overdirected it back. She found the guideline and cut a foot off my hair. She took another clump, overdirected it back over the ear and cut it to the guideline.
As with the left side, all the hair behind the ear was gone. Quickly Denise overdirected the remaining hair to the back of my head, and cut it to the guideline.
Any evidence that I’d ever had long hair was now gone. I couldn’t help but miss it at that moment. It would be the last time I’d feel that way.
Denise looked at me from the front and saw that the sides were uneven. She made a few technical snips on the right side to get it to fall at the bottom of the ear.
With a big round brush in one hand and her hair dryer in the other, Denise dried my hair. She held up big clumps, inserted the brush, and dried.
“What about the back?”
“I’ll do that dry.”
Satisfied, she took sections of the hair from the crown, twisted them, cut them into a circle in order to create shape there. After doing this a couple of times, she took out her clippers. Inserting a large comb at the base of the occipital bone, she lifted the hair, razoring all the hair sticking out. I thought the hair must have been very short by now, but I saw inches fall to the floor.
It felt like the razor was on my scalp. Was she balding me? No. I trusted Denise. It would be fine.
She put the clippers down, and examined the work. Seeing some stray hair, she snipped in several places.
Then it was done.
THE haircut was back. It was cute. Just past the ears on the sides in a bob. She held up a mirror and I saw that the hair was razored to about a half inch in the back.
I smiled. Just what I wanted. To prove it, I pushed my hair behind my ears.
When he got home that night, all I was wearing was his favorite dress shirt. He couldn’t keep his hands off my hair or off me. We made love 3 times that night, something we hadn’t done in months.
I know that haircut didn’t solve whatever was bothering him, but I also know that he is now the happiest I’ve seen him in a year. Last week he asked me to marry him. I’m keeping my hair like this.