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She lay on her side in her bed, knees up, curtains drawn. Her hands, with minor exceptions, spent the time fondly the short, soft blonde hair on her head. Each time she retouched it, the reaction was the same. The same mix of strangeness, loss, stimulation, and sexual desire.

Until a few hours ago, it was different. Before then, when she had put her hands to her head, she found long, silky, dark hair. In fact, it was something she had done as a habit, this hands to hair thing. Whenever she was in thought, daydreaming, that’s where her fingers would stray.

Recently, though, she had had other thoughts. `What if?’ thoughts.

She never really remembered exactly when it began. In fact, she never really remembered not having those disturbing episodes. There was the virgin long hair of her classmate in elementary school. At least it had been long until the classmate’s mother got angry. `Why? didn’t matter what. Her classmate’s hair was chopped roughly away, leaving a head of ragged short hair and a devastated child.

She was overcome with a tornado of intense feelings, a swirling torrent of guilt and guilty pleasure. She wanted to take her friend in her arms and bring her warm comfort, yet she couldn’t take her eyes off the crude pixie.

The duality of her fascination kept the feelings a secret for a long, long time. Under the heavy weight of the guilt, for exalting in what appeared to be another’s pain, for being different, the pleasures struggled to be heard, beneath the surface.

?

Her hands continued to cradle her head. Her fingers tried to grasp the hair she had once habitually twisted around her fingers, and came up empty. Pressing her thumb and forefinger around a patch of hair, she pulled them along the short shafts. Involuntarily, she now rubbed her head with her hands. There was no weight, no form, offered by her hair. Just her head, adorned by a soft layer of down.

Two weeks ago today, she had seen the woman.

In the caf?, reading the paper.

Ordering her coffee, she looked back and saw the head. Incredibly short hair, beautiful. The woman looked above, beyond the people in the caf?, the people she remembered seeing everywhere. She imagined to herself what it might have felt like to ask for, to be given such a haircut. Her hands floated to her own head, pressing lightly, feeling the length.

The woman had seen her stare. And offered a quiet smile.

Picking up her coffee, she turned away from the woman, embarrassed. That?s the thing about hair obsession. From the inside, it feels like a neon sign, flashing `I?m different, and strange.?

She scurried, head down, towards the door.

?Excuse me.? The woman caught her progress toward the exit. ?Please, sit down for a minute.?

?No, it?s alright, really.? She replied, still embarrassed.

?I have something for you.? The woman persisted.

The woman pulled out a pen and quickly scribbled on a napkin.

?Call this man. Do it. For you.?

She looked down, and saw what the woman had written.

?The Salon Beyond the Horizon. 665-8204?

She muttered her thanks, smiled, now flushed with embarrassment, crumpled the napkin, and pushed it to the bottom of her bag.

And hurried home.

?

The images came in stabs. A split second of feeling the vibration as the scissors took the first slash. Then nothing. Then again, a tuft falling. Then nothing. Then imagining how different it might feel, hands to her head. The chills came in waves, her sensors closing down as they felt overwhelmed.

But more and more, the images lasted longer. More frequent. Haunting.

Finally, she awoke this Saturday morning, and lay in bed, cradling her head, caressing her hair. For an hour, she explored every inch, every soft strand.

Then she went to the phone.

30 minutes later, she was dressed and on her way.

Part 5

?Have you ever cut it short before?? the man asked.

?Yes, a few times.? She replied.

?I don?t mean cute short. I mean really short. I mean sweaty palms, crotch paralyzing short. Beyond the point where you feel safe. Where you have no choice but to experience vulnerability. Where your body sends you messages that confuse you, and thrill you.?

He stopped, waiting only seconds before speaking again.

?I can tell you?ve never cut it that short before.?

She managed a response. ?How short are we talking?? The quiver in her voice was unmistakeable.

?Well,? he said casually, ?It?s like they say on Rodeo Drive, `If you?re asking how much, you can?t afford it.? And if you?re asking how short, you?re not ready.?

?Why not?? She wondered if that was really panic she felt.

?Because the secret is in letting go. In surrendering yourself to the feeling, regardless of the consequences. Saying to someone, you can do whatever you want to my hair, knowing they?re probably going to take you up on it. At that point, you?re ready to pee your pants with fear, or have an orgasm in the chair, whichever comes first. Sometimes it?s a photo finish.?

?You make it sound so perverted.?

?Not at all. It?s the human condition. Some people jump out of airplanes, some race cars. Fear can be an aphrodisiac, if you look it in the eye and spit.?

?How can you compare jumping out of an airplane with having your hair cut short??

?Does it frighten you to think about jumping out of an airplane??

?I don?t know. Maybe. I haven?t thought about it. Yes, actually.?

?Does it scare you to think, right now, about giving me permission to cut your hair as short as I choose, no holds barred??

?I?m not going to give you that permission, just to feel that fear. That makes no sense.?

?It also doesn?t answer my question. Think about that moment. Close your eyes, and feel it. Think about giving that permission, and what it would mean, what you would be risking. Does that scare you??

She remained silent, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of knowing the thought actually scared the shit out of her.

?Fear has no quality, no nobility. The haircutting fear is just as real, and just as scary, if not more so, than jumping out of an airplane. I guarantee, that if you line up ten woman, and give them a choice between skydiving and giving carte blanche to a stranger with scissors, it?s a tossup which they choose.?

?So, then, what?s the point. What?s the point of going through that fear??

?Because if you don?t, you never find your truth. You never find what?s haunting you, what?s available inside you.?

?You?re crazy. It?s only hair, for Christ?s sake. You?re making way too much of this.?

?I suppose. It?s up to you how much you want to make of this. You can leave now, without losing anything. Or you give me permission to do anything I want.?

His last sentence put a finality on it that she somehow understood. There would be no more debate. There would be no trims, no light layering, no half measures, no toes dipped in cool water. She sat, frozen. She waited for her body to climb out of the chair, but it refused.

He turned away, indifferent to her plight.

?Ok.? She said. ?You have it.?

?

?First, ? he said, ?we go blonde.?

?Shit, ? she thought. ?Here I am ready, and now I have to wait.?

She felt her body tighten, and her arms gripped the chair. She looked down at the counter, saw the scissors, saw the clippers, and wanted to grab them and start herself. And this son of a bitch was going to make her wait. Her pussy warmed. She shifted in her chair, and felt the first moisture make its way through to her panties.

The man caped her, and the first coolness of bleach soaked her hair.

She closed her eyes, and let the images wash over her.

Essentially, the deed was done. There was still product to be applied, still cutting to do, but the die was cast. She had let go, and all she could do was feel.

It seemed like a trance for the next hour or so.

Periodically, she swore she was about to come. A few times, if she had just shifted, in just the right manner, she knew she would have cried out. Her jeans were soaked. That much she had felt, for a long time now.

She had succumbed to the process like she would to a trusted lover. Bringing her to the brink, over and over, the color went on. Now the images came freely, of tufts soon to be falling, of rasping shortness being left on her precious head, out of her control, yet for her benefit, releasing her.

Now the color done, she opened her eyes. She saw the same long hair, but now, pale yellow, almost white, blonde.

Now, in the mirror, she saw him approach with his scissors.

He combed up a section of her hair, right at the front. Her senses were so heightened she could see every strand in the grip of his fingers. He pushed the fingers of his left hand tight against her scalp, and, with the scissors in his right hand, started slowly, snipping. She watched inch after inch of the first section, drop in front of her eyes, and with a soft flick, onto her cape, sliding down to her pussy, where it came to rest.

It came like a Tsunami. The wave washed over her, then sucked back, leaving her to shudder and moan. Her eyes lost focus, her mind dizzy, then she struggled to see again. Now, the hair he had left after the first cut grabbed her attention. Barely there, it lay quietly, short, defeated. His fingers interrupted her view as they picked up the next section. Once again, slowly snipping, more hair, soft, long, pliable, fell, piece by piece into her lap. This time, the wave was gentler, more soothing. She let the wash carry her, her eyes closed, and she felt herself floating.

Now, around at her nape, she could feel the tugging of his comb and fingers. She felt the scissors slice in, next to her scalp. Partially obscured by her neck, she saw the long hairs slide off the cape, to the floor. He worked there, over and over. She could feel the rhythm of his scissors and comb, over and over, shorter, and shorter.

Then, she felt it. No longer concerned about where he was, what he was doing, what he was cutting, how short.

Her eyes closed, she sat in the warmth, in the sensation of having let go.

?

?There. We?re done.?

She opened her eyes. She recognized her soul in the eyes that looked back at her in the mirror, but the woman, the image was unrecognizable.

All over her head, the hair lay simply, neatly, in the direction that her head sent it. No frills, no spikes. Like the feathers of a soft baby chick, the simplicity of the pattern, beautiful.

She knew there would be a price to pay for this. Friends, family. Maybe some would like it, some wouldn?t. That much she knew.

She paid her accomplice, and hurried home.

Back to bed, hands cradling her head.

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