Goodbye, Sandra Dee By Lela
Sandi was the sort of invisible girl that every high school has. She participated in no sports, she got good grades, but not outstanding, and she acted. In fact, Sandi could only remember standing out once in high school. That was the Halloween of her senior year. In search of something to go as, she turned to her favorite movie, Carrie. When her name was called over the PA as the winner of the school’s costume contest, she could hear people muttering, “Sandi Cartwright? Who’s that?” College, Sandi vowed, would be different. People would notice her. She would be popular. She would get kissed. And to get noticed, Sandi knew what she had to do.
She could, quite literally, count on one hand the times she had been called pretty. Her mother had, when she was going to graduation; her best friend had called her yearbook pictures pretty and a friend of hers had offered to give her a makeover, saying “You’re pretty, you just need – we all need – a little help.” Sandi’s smile had an incredible ability to brighten anyone’s day, but the deep dimples and rosy cheeks that framed it made her appear 12. Her eyes were a deep and pensive blue, the sort one might find in an old-fashioned doll, and her skin was a delicately perfect cream satin, lacking even one flaw. And then there was her hair.
All high school she had hidden behind her hair. It was a medium blond, the sort of tone that some might call wheat, neither flaxen nor honey, and very fine. It fell to about an inch below her shoulders, with wispy bangs in front. Sandi always wore it down, and never pushed it behind her ears, so it formed a sort of curtain for her face.
Her appointment at the salon was for ten. She had never been to this stylist before, but her best friend had recommended her to her. She was supposed to be the best in their district for short, yet classy crops. Sandi drove to the salon with the mixed feelings of anticipation and trepidation that always accompany a young woman about to shed her mousy skin for a prettier one. She caught a breath of confidence and pushed the door open.
“My name’s Sandi Cartwright. I have an appointment with Delia for ten.”
“Ah, yes, Sandi. If you’ll just have a seat over there, Delia’ll be right with you.” Sandi fingered her hair. As usual, it felt greasy. She rose and sat in the chair.
“Hello, Sandi.” Delia greeted her warmly. “What are we doing today?”
“Hello. Well, I uh… I was recommended to you by Kris Snell. I want I mean I…” Delia smiled and began to twist up a piece of Sandi’s hair up and clipped it against her head.
“You’re thinking of going shorter? Maybe chin length?”
“Well, yes shorter, but…”
“Shoulder length? With some layers in front?”
“Well… uh… I mean real short.”
“Cropped, you mean?”
“Yah,” Sandi allowed.
“Oh great! I have just the cut. See we clip the hair all short. It’s sort of a pixie.”
“Perfect.” No sooner had the words left her mouth than Sandi’s bangs fell onto her plastic-caped lap. Delia then expertly took the first two inches on the side of her head, grasped them firmly and snipped them to about an inch and a half long.
“Do you want to keep any of this mess? Or can I toss it?” She dangled a limp six-inch chunk of hair in front of Sandi. “Don’t worry, it’ll look loads better when it is all short.”
“Toss it.” The snipping continued along her head and suddenly she felt the icy scissors hit the nape of her neck. A feathery-soft section of long hair brushed her neck and fell to the floor. Sandi reached into her lap and played absently with the strands that had once been her protective shield from the world. With every precise snip, more hair fell about the chair. Delia reached over to get some styling product. Sandi suddenly looked at her face with curiosity. This wasn’t what she looked like. Those bedroom eyes, weren’t they more shy looking, more childlike? And her dimples, they made her look twelve, they weren’t sexy. But they were, and so was she. She felt absolutely surreal as she paid her bill and tipped Delia 500%. As she walked to her car, she heard a voice cry, “Hey, pretty baby.”
“Yeah, sugar?” She responded, turning and smiling at him.