The Law of Little Things – DLBARGRILL
So I was alone in my apartment. Paul made the decision that rather than continue a fight he wasn’t going to win, he would go watch football with his buddies or something. I understood what he wanted: to be involved with decisions that would affect our lives. He didn’t realize there was no place for him yet. I had to come to grips with what was happening t me before I could include him.
I tried to do some writing, but I couldn’t concentrate. Instead, I slipped a Bette Midler video into the VCR and vegged. I was surprised when Jade was at the door.
“Sorry I’m just dropping in, but I got your voicemail.”
“Pablo and I were a little busy to answer the phone.”
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Jade smiled. “Oh. You two aren’t now?”
“Oh no,” I laughed. “We weren’t making love. We were fighting. What’s up?”
Jade looked around the apartment and finally spotted her bag. “I left my stuff here this afternoon. Why were you fighting?”
Jade picked up her bag and opened it up. I guess she wanted to make sure everything was there. She looked in several pockets, finding a series of scissors, clips, combs, gels, mousses, her clippers, and her hair dryer. Jade worked in the salon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On Mondays, she often cut private clients at home so she brought her equipment home. An idea hit my head as I watched her inventory.
“Why do we ever fight?”
Jade laughed. “I always thought couples who fight shouldn’t be together. Then I look at you guys…”
“Guys who let me walk all over them aren’t much fun. I think it’s the same way for him. It’s not like we want to fight. We don’t intend to.”
“Are you guys okay?”
“Oh sure,” I said as walked into the kitchen. “Want something to drink?”
“No. No. I don’t want to impose.”
I came back with two Diet Pepsis. “Believe me, you’re not imposing. I could actually use some company.”
“What did he do?” Jade asked as she drank the Diet Pepsi.
“It’s no big deal really. Not like it’ll interfere with our wedding.”
Jade sat down. “You don’t want to talk about it?”
“No. I’d like you to do something for me.”
Jade smiled. She had a rough day and wanted to do something for a friend. “What?”
“Remember what we talked about earlier?”
Her eyebrows dropped.
I pushed my hair around my right shoulder over my breast. “My hair.”
“You want me to cut it?”
“Why now and not this afternoon?”
“Does it matter?”
“No, but you’re asking me to give you a haircut now after you had a fight with Paul. That’s a bad combination. Trust me. I know.”
“Jade you’ve been bugging me for months to do something, anything, with my hair. A few hours ago we were going to cut it.”
“Yeah, but then it was because it was a good idea. Now I think it’s because you and Paul had a fight. I don’t want you to do anything you’ll regret, what with the wedding only a week away.”
“Are we going to do this or not?”
Jade smiled. “Go wash your hair.”
I washed my hair, thinking this was the last time it would take me 10 minutes to do so. I put on one of Paul’s T-shirts and a pair of sweatpants. I thought about brushing my hair, but decided to let Jade do her job. Just for fun I messed up my hair even more. How awful it looked made me laugh.
Jade was busy while I was in the shower. She found an old sheet and put one of my dining room chairs on top of it. “Hi, my name is Jennifer and I’ll be your stylist,” she joked.
“I don’t know a Jennifer.” I sat in the chair. While I held my hair up, Jade fastened the cape around my neck. As I dropped my hair down on my back, it felt so heavy. “But I guess you’ll do.”
Jade clipped my hair up, by sectioning off both the left and right sides above the hairline. As she put the hair in the back up, I asked, “You want to give me bangs?”
“You want bangs?”
“I was asking you.”
“Well, I could. You’ve never had bangs.”
“Do you know why my hair is so long? Why I’ve always resisted short hair?”
Jade combed the hair in front of my all the way to my breasts. I was blind as the wet hair rubbed against my chin. “Some kind of male society belief that only long hair is beautiful?”
“No,” I said as Jade snipped nearly 2 feet of hair with the simple snip, snip, snip of her scissors. “I was raised by my dad from when I was 6. I had really long hair, even longer than it is now.” Jade touched up the bangs. I had no idea what they looked like and I was very curious. I felt something sensual as she took off all the hair and saw the long locks in my lap. This was new to me. I never felt anything when getting a haircut.
“I don’t want to interrupt, but what else are we doing with your hair tonight?”
She brushed the hair down my back. “What you’ve wanted to do for years.”
“You’re getting married in a week. You won’t be able to put your hair up. I can’t do that.”
“Sure you can. I wasn’t old enough to really take care of my hair myself.”
Jade started to whistle, something she never did in all the time I’d known her. I heard the crunch of scissors against my hair, but I couldn’t see what she was doing. She walked away for a second while I continued. “So he had his barber cut my hair real short and boyish. You know how Dan and I are twins? Well, we looked almost exactly alike.”
A wet ponytail that must have been 18″ long dropped into my lap. Jade had tied it at each end to make sure the hair remained. “Souvenir,” was the only word she said.
I heard the slosh, snip, slosh, snip on left ear and suddenly felt a breeze blow into it. “I absolutely hated it. I pleaded with him to let me grow it out, but he told me I could only do it when I was old enough to care for my hair myself.” With that, my right ear was free of hair for a moment. The amount of hair that fell back on my ear seemed almost non-existent. With so much of my precious locks ending up on the sheet, I was feeling more turned on. I wondered where Pablo was.
Jade unclipped a layer and I suddenly had long hair again. It was as if the idea of a shorn Hope was just a dream. “It wasn’t until I was 12 that he let me grow my hair. I wanted the longest hair for my Bat Mitzvah, but I couldn’t get it that much past my chin.”
Jade undid the hair clipped above my hairline and repeated the process, this time shearing the back a little higher on my head, at the base of my skull. I caught a glimpse of a foot of hair falling behind me. She brought the sides down and they felt secure again.
That only lasted a moment, however. She meticulously snipped each side, this time a little shorter. While the previous layer stopped in the middle of the ear, this one stopped at the top.
“All the other girls at my Bat Mitzvah had such long hair and mine was so mousy. It was awful. I vowed to never cut it again.”
She held my chin up to compare the sides and stared me in the face. “Which you break every 2 months.”
“What do you want from me? I was 13.”
Jade took out the final clip and I knew this was my final stand with long hair. I could have her stop now and salvage the last vestiges of that 13-year-old girl. I said nothing and felt the cold metal blade of the scissors against my skin as they went snick, snick, snick freeing the remaining tresses.
“My hair grew so slowly, but it hit my shoulders in high school. The longer it got, the more the boys noticed me, so I loved it that way.”
Jade took sections of my hair and snipped off half- to one-inch portions. Without a mirror, I still didn’t know what I looked like. I just knew my head felt lighter. “I’m sure it had nothing to do with these,” she said as her free hand touched my breasts.
“Yeah, right. Call me naive, but I didn’t realize boys were interested in them.”
“Close your eyes,” she said. I complied and felt another section of hair fall over my forehead. She scissored that off in no time. What it took me almost 17 years to grow was gone in under 20 minutes.
“In college everybody was cutting theirs, but I kept mine long because it was so easy to wash and let it air dry. Jen had to spend 15 minutes curling her hair under and I could just pull it back wet and go. Back then, 15 minutes of sleep counted.”
Jade sprayed water on my hair before snipping at sections on the side.
“My hair just became me. My identity. I met Pablo a little after I met you and by the time you suggested I cut it short, he was giving his macho Latin, ‘women are beautiful with long hair.'”
Jade laughed as she measured out half-inch sections of hair on the top of my head and cut them. “So we’re doing this just to get back at him?”
“No. I’m giving him what he wants. He asked, ‘How do you know I wouldn’t like it short?’ You know me. Always trying to please my man.”
Again she laughed. Nice to know that even when thrown off by everything that was happening to me, I still had it.
“You know, Hope, I think you’re going to hate me for a little while for this, because the wedding is coming up…”
“I won’t. This is my decision.”
“If you’ll shut up for a second and let me finish,” she said as she pushed my head down in order to complete the back. “But a couple of weeks from now you’ll love me for this cut.”
“I’m sure I’ll love it now. I know I’ve kept it long, but I’m not that in love with my hair. It is only hair.”
“Don’t say that,” she said as finished trimming the back. “If my clients thought it was only hair they wouldn’t pay $75 for a cut.”
“I knew you when.”
“Ssshhh. You’ll spill it that I’m just as good as when I charged $42.”
Jade sprayed some mousse in her hands, spread it through my hair and brushed it out.
“I’m dying here,” I said.
“Quiet you,” she responded as she picked up my hair dryer. “When I’m ready. Is there anywhere for me to plug this in?”
“Over there,” I replied and we walked over to the TV. I again sat in the chair, and all I could think about how her brush stopped short of where it should.
“All done,” she finally said as she produced a mirror.
I desperately wanted to see the cut, but part of me was reluctant. If I didn’t look my hair would still be long the way I liked it. Even if I couldn’t sell myself on that I could imagine it looked great. By looking, I knew there was the possibility of disappointment.
Nevertheless, I looked. I was amazed by what I saw. She was a woman I barely recognized. I always brushed my hair back in front and here were long layered bangs parted on the left and brushed to my right. The sides were similarly layered, about 2 inches everywhere, with the last layer falling halfway over my ears.
“You’re brilliant. I thought you were going to do some boring bob, but this has character. I’m so used to it being all one length.”
“It’s definitely not that. And you won’t be able to push your hair behind your ears anymore.”
I laughed. “Try me. The back?”
She ran into the bathroom and got my hand mirror. As Jade held it up behind my head, it finally sank in how short my hair was. Short. The back was also layered about two inches long. Since my hairline is below the ears, the cut was longer in back than on the sides. My hair no longer stretched to the small of my back. It was evenly cut halfway down my neck. “What’s that?”
Jade held up a single lock of hair which remained almost two feet long. “I wanted you to see how much was cut off. I’ll get rid of it.”
“No. Don’t. I kind of like it. My hair’s been so conventional up until now. It’s kind of funky.”
“I’ll braid it.”
“I have one thing to say to you, no make that two things.”
“Shoot,” Jade said nervously.
“Why didn’t we do this sooner?”
She smiled. “And?”
“Next month we go shorter.”
“I am so happy you like it. You know what would look great with this cut. Some blond highlights.”