Cousin Angela’s Visit By Jim B.
Our cousin, Angela, who was brought up in the city, decided to give us a visit for the summer. She was the daughter of our mother’s sister Kathy, who was a year older than she and now nineteen years old and in her second year of collage. My brother and I were delighted to see her when we met her at the train station: it had been almost ten years since we last saw her. She was a woman now, prettier than ever before.
Her mid-back long brown hair was now a few inches shorter, cut in layers just brushing her shoulders. But, overall, she looked stunning. Her summer visit was a big event, and we treated her like something special. Angela really enjoyed all the attention she got.
When we reached the house she and my mom were arm in arm. That night after having a splendid dinner, we all sat down to talk. Angela was a lovely, kind, and considerate young lady who was loved by everyone. We looked forward to her visit, because we loved all the lovely gifts Aunt Kathy would send us.
This time Aunt Kathy sent me a lovely pair of shoes and a toy tank for my brother.
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It was during our chat, Angela took out her photo album and showed us a few photographs.
Mom was shocked to see Aunt Kathy’s photograph. It was three years since they had last seen each other. Back then Aunt Kathy had hair down to her waist just like mom. But the woman in the picture had an ultra short haircut, not more than two inches all over.
Mom being surprised asked Angela why Aunt Kathy had cut off her lovely long hair.
Angela told us that when they moved into their new home, in the city, she had seen the women wearing their hair short. And, as she had grown tired of caring for her waist length hair, she had made an appointment with a stylist to get it cut to mid-back.
“Once she had done this, with each visit she had it cut shorter until it was cut to two inches all over, its present length”.
Angela said that her mom really liked her short hair, and she had contemplated going even shorter and bleaching her now greying hair all white. She told us that many times her mom tried to convince her to cut her own hair short, too. But, she had always refused.
After hearing all this my mom went into a deep thinking mood, not saying much until we all told her good night and went to sleep. Nothing much happened the next few days except, as it was very hot, all of us went for a swim. We really did enjoy ourselves especially with Angela. She was three years older than I was, so we got along very well. She was so much fun to be with, as she was always happy and cheerful.
We spent the next week in much the same way: swimming in the mornings, eating and watching television for the rest of the day.
On Sunday, Aunt Kathy called and talked to Angela. Afterwards mom spoke to her for about half an hour.
That night it was very hot and humid, causing us to toss and turn in our sleep. The next morning was not any better, but we went for our daily swim. That afternoon we went shopping and mom bought Angela and me identical dresses. She also bought one for herself except, hers was blue with large pink flowers and ours were black with the same floral pattern. I loved the dress, it was short quite a few inches above the knees and was really cut well.
The following day we went for our swim in the pool. After swimming Angela and I put on the new dresses we had got the day before, and along with my brother were about to walk home when we met by mom, who was waiting for us in her car. Even she was wearing the dress she had bought with us the day before. When we got in the car, mom told us about her plans.
She had just spoken to Aunt Kathy, and had decided she was going to cut her hair short. She said she had been thinking about doing it for quite some time. But, after seeing Aunt Kathy’s photograph, and after talking with her a few days back and again today, she decided to go short.
She said she was tired of looking after all her long hair, like Aunt Kathy said, and how much of a relief it would be without it. Especially in this oppressive heat. She said that, since Aunt Kathy looked great in short hair, it should suit her too. So, she picked us up to take us along to see her transformation, and for a little support.
As we lived in a small town, by the time mom had told us of her plans, she was parking the car near the hairdressers.
When we walked in she was led to one of the styling chairs immediately: mom had obviously made an appointment earlier. Mrs. Kelly, who had come in to have her hair trimmed, exchanged pleasantries with us, as mom turned her attention to her stylist.
While we seated ourselves on a sofa beside the reception desk, mom and the stylist had a long decision about her cutting her hair off. The stylist, Susan, was the one who had bobbed my hair last summer. Even though I had hated her for doing it (mom insisted I get my hair bobbed), I now realised how easy it was to care for and had not grown it out since.
My brother, on the other hand, wore his hair in a crew-cut, almost bald in the back and on the sides. But it too was in need of a cut.
The stylist put a cape around mother, just after mom had shown her Aunt Kathy’s photograph. I was surprised, as was Angela, never expecting mom was going to cut her hair so short, even though she had said she was going to. Anyway Susan began her work, tying mom’s waist length hair into a ponytail, then asking my mom if she was certain. Getting a positive reply, she just picked up the scissors and chopped it right off. I knew it was the last time my mom would ever have long hair.
All this time my mom sat patiently, but when she saw her ponytail I think I saw a tear. Susan began shortening the sides and the back. She told mom she would really love her new cut in this hot and humid summer.
After snipping away at the hair on the left side of my mom’s head she worked her way to the back then to the right. The floor was piling up with my mom’s hair. Susan worked her way from the top of her head, always starting from the crown downward. She snipped away leaving about three inches on top.
When she told mom she was through, my mom told her it was not short enough. She wanted it exactly as in the photograph.
So, after having another look at the photograph, Susan began cutting away. When she was done, my mom’s hair was about an inch and a half all over and shorter on the sides and back.
However, she did one thing different. She cut my mom’s bangs halfway to her forehead in a straight line. The end result was quite stunning, in minutes mom looked about fifteen years younger and much more beautiful than before. My mom was quite a beauty and this short cut, especially the fringe, enhanced her beauty.
Mom was obviously delighted, as she had a big smile on her face. The first thing she did was to reach up and touch her head, remarking about all her troubled days of long hair being over. Even Susan agreed the haircut suited her much more than she thought it would.
As mom was stepping out of the chair, Angela stood up and walked over to the chair. She told mom and Susan she would like to get her hair cut short, saying all the doubts she had about cutting her hair were gone, seeing mom’s haircut.
She said that it would also please her mom, who was always trying to get her to cut her hair. Her haircut took about the same time as mom’s did. The floor filled up with hair, first there was all of mom’s auburn locks and now Angela’s brown locks.
Soon Angela wore the same short haircut like mom. But, it surprised them both when she asked Susan to cut her hair much shorter. Mom, however, was a bit apprehensive, saying Aunt Kathy might not like it.
However, Angela said, since she had already cut her hair short slightly shorter would make no difference. With that said she pointed to my brother, saying she wanted it cut like his.
Angela told us styles like that were “in”, but she had never had the guts to have hers cut that way before now.
Susan got the clippers, which she plugged into the wall and the whole shop filled with the noise of the humming clippers. She put a quarter inch guard on the clippers and placed them on Angela’s hairline. She just pushed them towards the back of her head. The clippers cleared their way while leaving behind a strip of short hair no longer than a quarter of an inch. Angela seeing her hair was being cut so short was really happy and kept on smiling. Within a few strokes of the clippers all the hair on top of Angela’s head was cut short.
Susan ran the clippers around the left side of her head, the back, and the right side. What was now left of Angela’s shoulder-length hair was a head full of quarter-inch hairs. Susan removed the attachment and began clipping the sides and back shorter, leaving Angela looking almost bald there.
When Angela got up, she was thrilled.
Mrs. Kelley, who was surprised seeing all this, asked her stylist to chop off about four inches of her hair, so she was left with a chin length bob.
What mom did next really shocked us all. She sat down on the chair, after Angela had gotten up, telling Susan she wanted the same ultra-short crew-cut as Angela.
At first Susan refused to do so. But, after my mom coaxed her she was given the same treatment as Angela – a head-hugging short crew. Without saying anything else, Susan placed the clippers on my mom’s hairline, as she had done with Angela, just pushed the clippers towards the back of her head. Within a few minutes the top of her hair was cut to a quarter of an inch all over. It didn’t take Susan very long to do the same with the back and sides of mom’s head. She removed the attachment and gave mom the same bald looking sides and back.
Within minutes Angela and mom had identical haircuts.
However, I was not spared, being placed in the chair by both of them. I refused to have my hair crewed. Instead mom asked Susan to give me the original haircut which she had given her, like that of Aunt Kathy in the picture. I accepted having my hair cut like Aunt Kathy, knowing arguing would make no difference, or I would end up with a crew cut like them.
Actually I longed to have the same haircut as them, but just kept quiet.
While my hair was being chopped off, I looked at mom and Angela in the mirror. How much prettier both of them looked without all that hair covering their lovely features, especially mom. I ended up with a haircut like Aunt Kathy’s, but deep down wanting one like mom and Angela.
My mom was very pleased with the result, leaving Susan with a large tip and her ponytail.
We headed home. All of us with our new short haircuts, except for my brother who was spared the clippers this day.
The next day Angela had to leave, so we had a very tearful separation. My mom asked Angela to call us when she got home – to tell us how Aunt Kathy reacted to her haircut.
Angela called us the next day, saying Aunt Kathy loved her new haircut. When Aunt Kathy spoke with mom she thanked her for having encouraging Angela to cut her hair, and congratulated her on her new haircut. Angela had taken a few photographs before leaving, which she had shown Aunt Kathy.
Five days later Aunt Kathy called again, this time to tell us she had gone with Angela to the hairdressers, and both of them now had a quarter of an inch all over haircut, and she had her hair bleached and loved the result.
Mom’s haircut set quite a trend in our town. Quite a few ladies had their hair cut shorter for the summer, but none as short as mom’s. The next time we went to the salon even I opted for the quarter inch all over hair cut mom now had.
I can never tell her how much I loved it.
Mom and I haven’t grown out our hair since.
Aunt Kathy called this morning. She told mom of having seen a number of young women around town with their head shaved. Mom told her that sounded interesting. And that we had an appointment with Susan for that afternoon.