Running Girl – EddyZ
I sigh while I’m dry-blowing my hair. It consumes so much of my time to wash, condition, blow-dry and restyle my long hair. It takes me every day at least one hour. I have to do it frequently, after each fitness training, after each time I have run. I perspire profusely and my hair is wet from sweat. I like running and I am really good as I humbly state. Everyone says so. I now run 10 miles in about 58 minutes and am still making progress. I want to run everyday, almost at least and when I have to skip a day I am restless. Well, that means at least one and a half hour of training. So you can see how much time I would spare if I hadn’t to spend so much of it on my haircare.
Cut off the lot! Often I have heard that, but I love my hair! Of course I have considered it but I don’t know to decide.
These thoughts again pass through my mind while I am running over a sidewalk. Suddenly I stumble over a loose tile and before I know it I lie horizontally and face down. My knee hurts, I have a hole in my jogging pants. A man helps me to get up and I limp, leaning against him, towards the door he came from.
It is a barbershop! “Sit down,” he says and helps me into a barber’s chair!
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“I’ll get a disinfectant,” he says, “the street is dirty.”
I have a graze at my knee and he smears Imodium on it. It stabs furiously!
“Shall I call a taxi for you?”
“No thanks, I think I can walk. I live not far from here.”
The hurting lessens already.
“Is there anything else I can do for you?” He is very polite and nice to me. I take it for granted that he is the owner of the shop. He is mid-forties I suppose, not tall but sturdy.
“I don’t think so, thank you, you are very nice and I appreciate your help.” I hesitate and to my own astonishment I add: “There is something you could do for me: I need a haircut.”
I can’t believe it! Do I want that?
“Than you are in the right spot,” he laughs, “you needn’t even get up.”
He grabs a cape and throws it over my shoulders. “Will you please lift your hair?” He fixes the cape. “So, what can I do for you?”
I am browbeaten. What am I doing?
“I don’t really know…. I, well…” I stammer.
“Okay, you are a little upset. Tell me what troubles you.”
Is it caused by the emotions of my misstep or the kindness of this man which make me willing to put my confidence in him? In any case I tell him that I love running and that I am good but that my waist-long hair steals so much of my time.
“I see what your problem is. You have beautiful hair and you object to cutting it. But I think you should take it or leave it. You have to choose. What do you love more: your hair or running?”
I cannot do without running. Can I do without my long hair?
“When I cannot run my life seems idle.”
“I can run with long hair. But… I have considered to cut it often, not being able to decide.”
“But while you are running you should like to have a short hairdo?”
“Yes. Oh, my god, it is such a difficult decision.”
“Let me help you with that decision. Only trust me.”
“How short should I go then?”
“Leave it to me. Is it really important to you to know? In any case short means a dramatic change.”
“Okay, go along. I give you a free hand.”
“Thank you my dear. Well, here we go. Are you ready?”
I am startled and say, trembling: “What are you going to do? I don’t want to become bald.”
“Relax! Tell me your name. Mine is Bill.”
“Lisa.” Tears are gathering. What am I doing?
“Well, Lisa, I will be gentle with you. But you must know that only a really short hairstyle will be efficient if you want to spare time. Do you agree?”
“Yes, I trust you, Bill. Do it quick before I back out.”
Suddenly he comes in action. He gathers my hair into a ponytail, twits it and ties it very close to my scalp at my crown. He turns the chair so that I cannot see myself in the mirror. I start again when suddenly I hear the humming sound of the clippers. He pulls my ponytail taut and then I feel the clippers run over my head, from all directions and suddenly my ponytail comes loose and freed hair whirls over my head. Bill pushes my head towards my chest and I feel the clippers at my nape climbing towards my crown, plowing through my hair. Two, three, four, five times. Then he steps to my right side, pushes my head to the left and moves the clippers in front of my ear towards my temple. Next over and behind my ear and then the same action on the other side. After that he takes a large comb and places it horizontally in my hair on top near to my scalp. He mows with the clippers over the comb and strands of hair are falling down.
At last he speaks: “Well, the bulk has gone. I will have to match the back and sides with the hair left on top.”
He turns the chair.
“Don’t be frightened,” he says. “I warned you about the change.”
I am bewildered when I see my reflection in the mirror. A strange girl looks back.
“What do you think?” he asks.
“I don’t know.” I want to cry but hold back
“I think it would be better to make the sides and back a little shorter. Do you mind?”
I am dazed and I don’t care any more. “No, if you think so.”
My beautiful long hair has gone. I look down and cannot hold back my tears seeing this mass of lovely locks lie useless on the floor.
“Don’t cry, little lady, you will see how convenient short hair is.”
Again he switches the clippers on and now I feel them right on my skin. A shower of short hair is raining down and I see the pale skin on the sides of my head appear. I assume that the back will show the same image. The hair on top is shortened till its length is not more than 1/4 of an inch, all standing erect. Bill brushes all loose pieces of hair from my head and face and removes the cape, sending the rest of my tresses to the floor.
“All done. A nice and neat flattop. Your hair will no longer bother you.”
“Thank you, Bill. I’ll need time to get accustomed to my new image,” I say, sobbing.
He hugs me. “You’ll get over it. Come back if you like.”
When I get ready to pay him he says: “No charge, it is after closing time and I am happy being able to help out such a lovely lady.”
In the following days and weeks I become convinced of the advantages of my new hairstyle. No more waste of time! I am no longer a slave to my hair. And it feels marvellous when I am running, the wind brushing my nearly bare skin. I even have the idea that I run ever faster.
After two weeks I go back to Bill for a check-up.
“Well, little lady, what this time?”
“You were right, Bill. I love my short hair. But I need a trim. Maybe you could shave the back and sides a little higher.”
“High and tight, yes? Then I have to shave you with a razor.”
What if I hadn’t stumbled and fallen in front of Bill’s barbershop? Probably I should still waste time taking care of my long hair. Time which I now use to extend my training time. And with success! Why didn’t I do this earlier? Yet, sometimes I dream that I am brushing my long hair and when I awake I feel sad.
“You’ll get over it,” Bill had said. Well, I hope so. Not that I am mourning all the time, but there are moments that I am reminded of my loss. Therefore I have removed from my room the picture from me standing next to my mother and put it away in a drawer.
Of course did my transformation cause quite a commotion. At first with my dormmate, Luanne, when I returned on that particular night.
“Jesus Christ, why did you do that?” she shrieked.
“I stumbled in front of a barbershop, was brought in and put into a barberchair. It just happened.”
“Rubbish! We have discussed cutting your hair repeatedly and you always rejected it. Why did you change your mind and so radically? You are nearly bald.”
I told her what happened.
“He was so nice and when he asked if he could do any more for me, I said: ‘Yes, you can cut my hair.’ I really didn’t know what came over me but I did.”
“But why did you let him cut off so much?”
“I think that I had been emotionally affected, so I lost control over myself. And I could not see what he was doing as he turned the chair away from the mirror. What the fuck, it happened.”
When I came to college the next day my fellow students gathered around me and I had a number of things to explain. But I noticed somewhat amazed that the interest in me had increased. Even by Brian, a good-looking young man and always surrounded by girls, while he had never had approached me before. But I had not the time nor did I feel like it to start a relationship. Though it amused me!
Next my mother! On the phone I had told her that I had cut my hair but had not said how short. I had no doubt whatsoever that my 19-year-old, curious younger sister would call me back. Indeed she did and I told her the whole story and emphasized that she should put wise on mother with the necessary tact lest she would get a heart attack when I showed up with my new look.
I don’t intend to inform my father. I meet him a few times a year and I’ll confront him with my new image. Especially to shock his girlfriend, Amber, who is only a few years older than I am. She is always dressed and styled like a model, which she would like to be, but she doesn’t radiate enough. She always envies my hair. Well, there is no more need for it!
I run. I am a running girl. I feel myself freed. Free from bothering about my hair. My head feels light. I seem to fly. In front of my competitors!
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