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Blond, Black and Pink – A Sequel Part 2

This story is part 2 of a much longer story.  Although it is largely self-contained, it will make much more sense if you have read Part 1 which tells about the first two days in the life of Christine and Melissa after their initial head shaves.

The First Saturday

Paula was up by 7:30 AM Saturday.  She wanted to start a load of laundry before breakfast so it could get in the dryer before she and the girls left.  She pulled the sheets and pillow cases from her bed and put them in the basket with the other clothes that were to be laundered.  After starting the laundry she went back upstairs to make sure that Christine was up.  She had heard Melissa in the shower – at least she assumed it was Melissa, who was always the earlier riser.

She noticed that Melissa’s bed was empty and went to Christine’s room.  She knocked.

“Christine are you up?  We have to get moving.  What do you want for breakfast?”

“I’m up” came the muffled response.  “Cereal’s OK.”

“Melissa’s out of the shower already.  It’s your turn.”

“OK”

Paula stopped at Melissa’s room on her way to the stairs.  “Hi, Melissa.  Did you sleep well?”

“Oh sure, I always sleep good.  You know Mom having warm water from the shower on my head was so amazing.  I just wanted to stand there forever.  With no hair I didn’t see any reason to use shampoo, so I just used the regular stuff.  It felt so good when I put it on and then rinsed it off.  When you get your head shaved you’re going to love it. Mom”

Melissa was not going to miss a chance to get in a little encouragement for Paula to get her own head shaved.

“Well I do look forward to it.  But don’t push it too much.  You’ll have me losing my job if I can’t stand to wait,” she laughed.  “Come on and help me with breakfast.”

A quick breakfast of cereal, juice and coffee for Paula followed.

“OK girls, I want you to look you best, so let’s get you extra smooth for the day.”

“Melissa, you can be first.”  Paula knew that they would not have much to shave because it had been less than a day since their last shave, but she wanted to get into a morning routine.

Melissa quickly got into the chair, and Paula clipped a towel around her neck.
“Turn on the heat lamp Christine.  This gel is still going to be cold feeling.”

Paula remembered that Kate had told her that applying a hot towel first would make the stubble stand up and give a closer shave.

“Christine, I need another towel.”

Paula ran hot water over the towel and then rinsed it out.  Feeling it she decided it would not be too hot.

“I’m going to use a hot towel the way Kate did.  It’s supposed to give a smoother shave.  If it feels too hot let me know.”

“It’s hot but not too hot, I can stand it”

Paula left the towel in place for a minute or two then removed it.

“Here comes the gel.”

 Melissa hardly felt the cool gel as it touched her head.  Paula used her palms to spread it over her head and it soon warmed up.  She had another idea.

“You know Melissa, a hot towel over the gel might make it even better.”

She heated up the towel again and applied it to Melissa’s head, careful not to rub it so as not to remove the gel.  

“How’s that Melissa.”

“Feels good, like I’ve been in the sun for a while.”

“Good.  Time to get this job done.”  Starting at the back, she worked slowly up to the crown of Melissa’s head.  The little shaver seemed to be moving easily.  She could tell the difference when she made a second pass over a previously shaved area.  The sound was different and it moved with no resistance.  She stopped to clean the shaver head, then proceeded to do the right side of Melissa’s head.  She found that shaving up and then from front to back seemed to result in skin that offered no resistance to the shaver regardless of the direction it moved.

Melissa sat with her eyes closed enjoying the sensations.  She wanted it to continue as long as possible.

“This is working well Melissa.  It’s going to be really smooth.  You’re going to like it.”

“Well, I already like it.  It feels so neat.”

Paula had finished the left side and began at Melissa’s forehead working back to the crown.  She also went from left to right and then from right to left just to make sure.  She did the crown in every direction.  Melissa had a well defined circular “cow lick” there.  Finally finished she ran her fingers over Melissa head looking for any rough spots.  She was satisfied.

“It’s done Melissa.  I’ll clean off the gel and dry your head for you.”

Paula used the damp towel to clean off Melissa’s head.  She used another towel to dry it.

“All done. Use lots of moisturizer.”

“OK, Mom.”

“Your turn Christine.  Oh, we need a couple more towels.”

“I don’t think we have any more plain ones that size.  What should I use?”

“Just grab anything.  There are some old large towels in there.  I certainly am going to have to buy some more towels.  I’ll bet that I can get a big package over a Super Lots.  Maybe we can stop by there on our way home.”

“Mom, you did a super job.  It is sooo smooth.  I love it.  And I love the way it looks too.”  Melissa had become a true convert to her new look.  It would last her a lifetime although she didn’t yet know it.

Christine handed the towels to Paula and sat down reluctantly.  She was baffled by Melissa’s attitude.  To her it was outlandish.  It didn’t make sense that any girl would like being bald, even though she had found the pictures that Paula had shown her strangely appealing.

“Well Christine that worked so well that I’ll do you the same way.”  Paula was running hot water over the same towel that she had used for Melissa.  In short order Christine’s head was wrapped in a quite warm wet towel.  Once again Paula waited several minutes for the heat and moisture to penetrate and cause the hair to stand up for a close shave.  She was especially desirous of doing a good job on Christine whose dark hair would start to show a shadow in half a day.  

The hot towel felt soothing and Christine relaxed somewhat.  Paula removed the towel and put a generous amount of gel in the palm of her hand.  She spread it into both palms before she carefully worked it onto Christine head and gave Christine a little head massage in the process.  Christine relaxed a little more.

“How does that feel Christine.”

“OK, I guess so, but I still don’t want to be bald.”

Paula decided not to respond and continued to massage her scalp.  She could sense that Christine was enjoying it even though she wouldn’t own up to it.

“Another hot towel for a few minutes and I’ll be able to finish the job.”

Paula removed the towel, and tossed it in the sink.  She would use it to clean off Christine’s head after she finished shaving her.  She spread a little more gel on her head, wiped her hands and picked up the shaver. She snapped off the head and ran it under a stream of hot water then snapped it back on.

“Head down Christine.  I’m starting at the back.”

Christine obediently bent her head down and Paula snapped on the shaver and put it on Christine’s neck below the hairline.  Slowly she ran it up about half way, then repeated the process again.  She continued to left and r
ight until the entire back of Christine’s head had been gone over twice.  Proceeding to the left side she repeated the entire process.  Then the right side received the same treatment followed by the top.

Finally finished, she explored Christine’s head and felt a few spots that were not to her liking.

“I need to go over it again Christine, so just sit still a bit longer.”  Once again she spread gel over Christine’s head and massaged it in.  The shave had been satisfactory but Paula had an ulterior motive.  She wanted to have an excuse to give Christine another massage and let her enjoy the feel of the shaver on her sensitive skin.

“Melissa, would you go down and put the clothes in the dryer if they’re done.  Put in one of those softener strips too.”

Melissa had been watching Paula intently as she shaved Christine and didn’t want to miss any of it.  She jumped up and hurried down to the laundry room to do Paula’s bidding.

Paula repeated the entire shave, but a little more quickly this time.

“OK, it done. Soft as silk.   I’ll clean off the gel and dry your head.”  Paula was confident that eventually Christine was going to accept her bald head and even enjoy getting it shaved.

“There you go.  Smooth on some moisturizer and we’ll be almost ready to go.  Melissa and I will clean up.  Dump these towels in the basket Melissa.”

Paula was busy cleaning the shaver.  She dried off the excess water and plugged it back into the charger.

She had noticed the previous day that when Melissa had put on the moisturizer it was shiny but the shine disappeared as the moisturizer was absorbed.  She liked the shine and had wondered how she could reproduce that effect.  Then she remembered something.  Years ago it was fashionable to have a shiny face.  It had been a short lived fad, but she had always liked the look of it and purchased several sticks of different shades of makeup that gave a slightly shiny glow to her face.  She thought that probably she had never thrown them out.  She rummaged through a drawer where she kept all sorts of partly used nail polishes, creams, lotions, lipsticks and almost everything else in the makeup line that she had purchased over the years,   Somehow it had always seemed wasteful to discard them.

Finally she found what she was looking for.  It was a fat tube with a tight cap at one end and a screw mechanism at the other.  She pulled off the cap.  Sure enough it was a rub on make up stick just as she had remembered it.  On the side was written in large letters “Face Shiner”.  The name of the makeup was above those words, and there were some instructions and the brand name following it.  It was listed as “medium.”   Further searching turned up two more.  One of the same brand said “light.”   The third was a different brand.  It advertised a shade that was not decipherable without looking at it.  It appeared to be something akin to medium light

“Melissa come here a minute.  I have something to try that you might like.”

“What is it.”

“See this?.  It’s face shiner.  I used to use it on my face.  I always liked the look, but women stopped using it.  It never really caught on.  I think it would look great on your head.  It will give you a little more color until your own color develops and the shine will look good.  Want to try it?  If you don’t like it just wash it off.”

“OK, I’ll try it.  But you’ll have to put it on for me.  I can’t see what I’m doing back there.”

“I’ll use the lightest one that I have.  You’re quite fair and that should work.”  Paula opened you makeup drawer and got out a new makeup sponge and began to rub the face shiner stick over Melissa’s head.  Deciding that she had enough, she carefully spread it evenly.  She was immediately taken with the result.  The color was almost perfect, and the shine was just right.  After a few adjustment she thought she had achieved a nice result.

“Take a look Melissa.  It looks good on you.”

Melissa’s head now had a warm glow to it and the color almost perfectly matched the color of her face and neck where they had been exposed to light and sun.  

“Wow, that’s a lot better that before.  It looks really natural.  I like it.  Can you do that every day?”  

“Sure, at least until I run out of it.  I don’t know if anyone makes it anymore.  We may have to figure out something ourselves.”

“Christine, let’s do you too.  You’ll look even better.  I think I have just the right tone.”

Christine examined Melissa and decided it did make her look less obvious.

“I guess I’ll try it if it makes me look less weird.”

Paula applied the medium light shade but decided that the medium was a better choice for Christine.  She quickly redid the job with the darker shade.  Now, like Melissa, there was no noticeable change in color from her neck to her nape and from her face to her head.  Paula thought the soft glow was very good looking.

“All done.  See what you think.”

“Well it does look a little less weird.”

“Good.  We have to get out of here if we’re going to be at “Rings and Things” when they open.  Are we all ready to go.  Oh, Christine, please get the grocery list.  I left it on the counter beside the stove.  I’ll get the car out of the garage.”

Melissa was excited about getting her ears pierced again and had the garage door open before Paula got there.

“What kind of earrings will we be able to get.  I hope its not just some plain gold studs this time.”

Paula had backed out of the garage.  Christine came out of the house and through the garage and got in the car.

“I’m not sure Melissa.  It depends on what they have.  I’m sure they have some starters that are too expensive, but they’ll also have some that are affordable that will look good.  Christine, you’ve looked at their selection haven’t you?  Do you remember what they might have?”

“Well, they change things a lot, but I think they have several colors of sapphire, and some other colored stones as well.  They’re mostly pretty simple studs though.”

Paula pulled into the parking lot close to the entrance near “Rings and Things” and parked close by.  The lot had quite a few cars already.  Although “Rings and Things” did not open until 10:00 AM, the Mall was open and some of the stores had opened at nine.

They stepped into the small shop.  The wall on one side was covered with modest priced jewelry of ever description.  The opposite side had glass display counters filled with more expensive items.  Behind the counter there were locked glass front display cases lining the wall.

They were greeted by a slightly plump but attractive thirty something clerk with a gold hoop and two sparkling studs in each ear.  What was more distinguishing, however, was the small ruby red stud that she had in her left nostril. Melissa spotted it immediately.

“Hello.  Can I help you with something?”

“We’re going to get our ears pierced again.  Can we see some of the studs that we can choose from?”  Paula smiled at Melissa’s quick no nonsense response.  

“Sure.  We have a good selection in a wide range of prices.  They’re all made with special surgical steel posts and backs so there can’t be any adverse reactions.&nbsp
; What price range did you have in mind.”  This was obviously directed to Paula.  

“Well, we can’t spend a lot, but I would like to get something nice.  How about something in the range of thirty dollars a pair.”

“I have a tray with quite a few in the twenty five to thirty five dollar range.  You’ll find a lot of nice studs and I’m sure you’ll find something you like among them.”

“Here they are.  I have some others also.”  She held two trays with perhaps 15 pairs in each.

Melissa and Christine began to examine the offerings, looking for something that struck their fancy.

The clerk turned to Paula.  “Are they your girls?”

“Yes, they’re mine. Melissa and Christine.  I suspect that you’re very curious about them being bald.  They’re perfectly healthy in case you are wondering.  It was my idea for them to be shaved.”

Melissa had overhear this exchange.  “It was Mom’s idea, but I glad she did it.  I really like the way it looks and feels.  It’s really neat.”  Melissa reached to run her hand over her head in a gesture that threatened to become a habit.

“I love the way you look too.  You remind me of some of those pictures of angels.  Some of them don’t seem to have any hair either.  You both look like angels, sort of mischievous angels, of course.”

“Thanks.  I want to keep it this way, but I don’t think I’m an angel.”

Paula noticed it and was surprised at this development.  She realized that she had always had a similar desire, but had kept it suppressed.  Could Melissa have inherited the same unusual fixation?  Well, there’s no harm in it she thought.

“Mom, what do you think of these?”  She showed a pair of pale blue rhinestones to Paula.

“They’re quite nice.  They go very well with your eyes.”

“I hadn’t thought of that.  I just liked the way they looked.”

Christine didn’t want to talk about her bald head or getting shaved, so she kept her mouth shut.  After holding up several different earrings to see how they looked, she found a pair that she particularly liked.  The stones were an unusual shade of yellow-brown with a dark line through them.  She thought that they  complemented her brown eyes.

“Look at these.  I’ve never seen anything like these before.”

“Oh, those are called Cat’s Eyes.  I think they’re very attractive, but most people tend to go for sparkly type stones.  Do you like them?”  

Paula examined them.  “I’ve seen them a few times.  They’re not very common, so you would have something a little different from the usual.  They will look quite good on you.”

“I think I’ll take them if that’s OK Mom”.  

“Sure, Christine,  it’s your choice.”

“I’ve decided on these blue ones that you liked Mom.”  Melissa interjected.

“So you’ve both decided.  OK, who wants to go first?”

“Go ahead Melissa.  I can look at a few more while you’re getting yours done.”

Melissa got on the high stool.  The clerk made little red dots where the new stud should be.

“How’s that” she asked Paula.  “They need to be far enough apart that she can wear medium sized studs, but not too far for hoops and studs combinations.  Besides she may want a third set sometime.  She could easily carry that off.”

Paula looked at the placement.  It looked about right to her.  “Yes I think that’s about right.  But I don’t think she’ll be getting a third set anytime soon.”

In short order Melissa had the first stud inserted as the stud gun emitted a  sharp “snap”  and Melissa blinked, more at the sound than at the pain.  A moment later the second stud had been inserted.  

Melissa looked at herself with the proffered mirror.  “They look nice.  I like it.  Thanks Mom.”

“Well it does look nice.  It will be even better when you put your hoops back in.”

Melissa quickly complied and examined the result.  “That’s a lot better.”

“Yes it is.  I like the way it looks too.  I think it’s your turn Christine.”

Christine stepped up and sat on the stool.  The procedure was repeated and in short order Christine sported cat’s eye studs and large gold hoops.

“There you go.  You know with your beautiful head you could easily go for 3 or even four.”

“Well what do you think Christine.  I think it looks very nice.  They complement your look beautifully.”  Paula was beginning to be tempted by the idea.

“I like them.  Thanks for letting us get them done.  I might want to get another set next year.”

“You are very welcome.  Well, three might be interesting, but for now two is enough.  I do like the look of two though.  I’ve been thinking about it since yesterday, but seeing you two get it done convinced me.  I just decided that I can’t let my girls get too far ahead of me.  Will you show me those earrings again please.  I’ve decided to get a second piercing myself.”

“That’s awesome Mom. You’ll look great! Won’t she Christine.”

“You will Mom.  At school a lot of the kid’s Mom’s have two, even three.”

Paula was rapidly discarding all the inhibitions that she had harbored most of her life.  Having the girls get their heads shaved had opened the door a crack.  Deciding that she was going to get her hair cut short and eventually have her head shaved had been the moment when the door was opened wide.  Today she was taking the first small step through that door.

“Here’s the pair that I want.  They’re my birthstone.”  She held up a pair of modest sized ruby studs.  

“Yes, those are very nice.  You will look good in them.  Are you ready?”

“Yes indeed.  It’s time for me to do something for myself.”  Paula stepped up and sat on the stool.

“I’ll need to hold your hair back with a clip so I can see what I’m doing.  You don’t need to remove your studs just yet.”  She carefully made the two red dots where the new studs would be inserted.  Looked back and forth to make sure they were symmetrical, and redid one by a fraction.

“There, does that look OK to you.”

Paula examined the positioning.  “It looks fine to me.  What do you think Christine?”

Christine looked from one earlobe to the other.  “I think she’s got it right Mom.”

“OK, go ahead.”   Paula removed the modest simulated diamond studs that she was wearing.

Two quick “snaps” later, and Paula had rubies gleaming in her earlobes.  She examined herself in the mirror the clerk handed her and thought that she should have done it years ago.  She replaced the “diamond” studs and smiled broadly.  

“I like the look very much.  I should buy some gold hoops to go with the rubies, but I guess we’ve splurged enough today.”

“We have some very nice gold hoops if you’re interested.”

“No, I’ll pass for now.  Maybe later, thanks.”

“OK.  Here are the instructions for keeping them clean and avoiding infections.  It takes about six weeks to heal, so don’t change them until then.  You need to turn them every day and put on some of this antiseptic solution.  Keep them loose the way they are so that air can get behind them and you can keep them clean.  Use a cotton tipped swap with some of the antiseptic solution to clean them.  Any questions.”
Finally Paula paid the bill.  “We’re done here, so let’s get going so we can do our  grocery shopping.  This took longer than I expected.  But it was worth it.”  Paula seemed to be in a perpetual hurry, which probably resulted from her years as a single Mother with two young girls to care for.

“You look really good Mom.  It will be really cool when we can all go out together – a bald Mother with two bald girls!”  Christine rolled her eyes at this notion but said nothing.  Melissa had obviously been bitten by the bug and nothing Christine could say would cool her enthusiasm.

“Christine you have the grocery list?  And Melissa, you added your things for tomorrow to it.”  Christine produced the list from her Jeans pocket and Melissa confirmed that she had added her items to it.

“I just remembered something that you will need tomorrow.  Your scalp will be very sensitive to the sun.  So you need to put on a good coat of sun block.  Maybe you should wear a baseball cap if you’re out during the hot part of the day.  We need to pick up some SPF 30 or 40 I think.  They have it over by the prescription counter.  Let’s not forget to get it.”

As they walked through the corridor toward the exit  to the parking lot, a number of people looked at them in surprise.  Melissa smiled and continued her conversation with Paula.  

The rest of the day was uneventful.  Groceries and sun block were purchased without incident, although quite a few heads were turned and they received a “looking good” comment from one older girl.  A package of a dozen white towels was found at Super Lots and they received compliments from the middle aged check out lady.   They arrived home early enough for a leisurely afternoon and evening on a beautiful day in late May.

Melissa put some sun block lotion on her head and went out to the back yard to put up the badminton net.  After some searching in the garage, she found all four of the racquets and a couple of “birds.”  The bases for the net poles had been emptied of their water last fall and left out by the fence.  She retrieved them and filled them with water just as she had done last year.  She didn’t have anything to mark the boundaries, but it didn’t matter.  They didn’t play seriously anyway.  The poles and net were soon in place.  

Sunday would be the first real test of Melissa’s growing fascination with having a shaved head.  She had told her friends that she had gotten her hair cut short – real short.  She hadn’t told them that it was shaved.  She had the na├»ve expectation that they would all think it was as “cool” as she did, despite what she had heard from Christine.  Reality might be a shock.

Week 1 – Sunday

Melissa was up earlier than usual.  She was looking forward to her head shave and wanted to be first so she would be ready for the kids who were coming over.  She had invited the three girls who had been her friends for the past five years.  They all lived within easy biking distance of each other.  She showered and put on her newly acquired shorts and the top that Christine had helped her choose.  After examining herself in the mirror and admiring her new earrings, she headed to the kitchen for breakfast.  She was excited and was just beginning to get a little nervous, wondering how her friends would react.  She often fixed scrambled eggs on Sunday, but today she decided that a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice would do.

She checked out the badminton net and tightened it up a little.  She didn’t quite know what to do with herself.  Finally she went out to the front and picked up the Sunday newspaper and brought it in.  Rummaging through it she finally found the Sunday comics and spread them out on the floor to read.  She was half way through when she heard a shower running upstairs.   She continued to read the comics and had reached the end when Paula arrived in the kitchen.

“Well Melissa, I see you’ve been up a while.  You must be excited about having the kids over.  That outfit looks really nice on you”

“yeah Mom, I woke up early.  I’ve already eaten breakfast.  I brought in the newspaper too.  Can you do my shave pretty soon?”

“Well, give me a chance to have breakfast.   Then we can get too it.” Paula laughed.

“OK, I just want to be all ready before they get here.”

“That’s not going to be a problem.  We have plenty of time.  Why don’t you get things set up upstairs.  Open that bundle of towels and set out three or four so they’re handy.”

“OK Mom.  I’ll get the pan of water ready for the hot-dogs too.  Should I open the chips?”

“Why don’t you wait a while before opening the chips, but go ahead and put the pan of water on the stove.  Don’t turn it on yet.”

Paula had also decided on orange juice and cereal rather than something more elaborate.  Her little four cup coffee brewer was already busily filling the pot with freshly brewed coffee and the smell had permeated the room.

She finished her orange juice and cereal and poured herself a mug of coffee.  It was too hot to drink immediately so she picked up the front section of the newspaper and began scanning it for some article or another that she would find interesting.  She browsed for a bit without finding anything that grabbed her interest.  Her coffee had cooled a little and she took a sip with some satisfaction.  Putting down the front section she unfolded the remainder of the paper and pulled out the style section.  The first thing that she saw was a picture of an attractive bald woman in an article entitled “Life as a Bald Woman.”  She read the first few paragraphs, her coffee forgotten.  The article was all about women who were bald either by choice or as a result of the condition called alopecia areata or one of its more severe forms.

Paula was intrigued.  One woman had lost a lot of her hair and it never grew back.  She wore a wig for a while but hated it.  Finally she had her head shaved and just went about her life being bald.  She had been bald for five years and the occasional remark didn’t bother her.  There were several other women who had lost their hair and who simply decided to stop trying to hide the fact.  They all said that they were comfortable with their decision and that it didn’t seem to make any difference with their jobs.  One was a receptionist at a major company. Apparently she found it funny how people would try to pretend that they didn’t notice.  Sometimes she would get compliments from both men and women, but mostly from men.  

Paula was most interested in the women who had chosen to be bald.  One black woman had simply gotten fed up with all the time and money spent trying to maintain a hairstyle she thought was appropriate and had asked her hairdresser to shave her head.  He said he would if she still wanted it after a week.  She went back a week later and had it shaved and had kept it shaved ever since.  Paula thought she looked stunning.  And then there was the airlines ticket agent in Tucson.  She had always had short hair, but on impulse decided to get her head shaved.  She liked it so much that she kept it shaved much to the bemusement of her husband.

There were others, but what made it so riveting for Paula was the fact that none of the women seemed to have any regrets over being seen bald in public, and more
importantly they seemed not to have any difficulties with their jobs.  Not one had reported that being bald had been a handicap in their job.  Of course several of them worked behind the scenes, but others had prominently public positions, and the black woman was the owner of a public relations firm.

Any doubts Paula had about shaving her head were beginning to recede.  She was deep in thought, her cup of coffee getting cold when her reverie was interrupted.

She heard Christine ask her a question quickly followed by Melissa’s voice from upstairs.

“Mom, every thing’s ready.  Are you coming up soon?”

“I’ll be up in a couple of minutes Melissa.  What did you ask me Christine?”

“Whatever you were reading must be really interesting Mom.  You didn’t even hear me until I asked you the second time if we had any more of that hot chocolate mix.”

“You’re right, I was really concentrating on it.  Here, you can read it yourself.  I’m sure that I saw a box of chocolate mix on the bottom shelf of the cupboard when we were cleaning up things last week.  It’s probably still there.  I’d better get upstairs to take care of Melissa.  When you’re finished breakfast come on up so I can get your head taken care of.”    
 
“Do I have to get it shaved every day?”

“Yes, every day at least for a while.  I’ll let you know if I change my mind.”

Paula quickly ran upstairs to the bathroom where Melissa waited impatiently for her.

“OK, Melissa, I’m ready to do you now.  I found a very interesting article about bald women in the newspaper.  It’s a real coincidence that it was published this weekend.  You might find it interesting too.”

“Really – bald women?  Did they have pictures of bald girls like me?”

“There were only a couple of pictures of bald women, but the reporter had talked to quite a few.  They all had jobs and most were married.  It was something.  There were no girls though.  Here comes the hot towel.”

Paula wrapped the hot towel around Melissa’s head while they continued to talk.

“Time for the gel Melissa.”  Paula spread the shaving gel over Melissa’s scalp, making sure it was thoroughly covered.  She wrapped another hot towel around Melissa’s head.

While she waited she made sure the electric razor was clean and was working.

“Melissa, did your new earrings give you any trouble when you tried to turn over on your side?  Mine seemed to poke me.  They woke me up a couple of times.

“No, Mom.  I didn’t feel them at all.  I did clean them this morning, and put on the stuff we got to keep them from getting infected.”

“Well, I guess I just have to find a comfortable position.”

Paula removed the towel from Melissa’s head.  “It’s time to get you shaved nice and smooth.  Head down please.”   

The little razor began its work.  Paula was now comfortable with the process and proceeded more rapidly than she had the first two days.  In a few minutes the back of Melissa’s head was silky smooth and Paula began on the sides.

“I’m using a little more pressure this time.  If it bothers you let me know Melissa.”

“It’s OK Mom.  I think I’m getting used to it a little.  Mostly I like the way it feels.  It wasn’t too scratchy this morning either.”

“I noticed that myself.  I think I’m getting better at getting it shaved close.”

Paula continued the process, trying to make Melissa’s head as smooth as possible.   She rinsed off the razor once and continued, finally shaving the top of Melissa’s head.

“I missed a couple of spots Melissa.  I’ll have to put on some more gel.  Do you want me to use the shiner?”

“I liked it Mom.  I think it looks neat with it on.”

“OK, I’m finished.  I need to clean off the gel and you can put on the moisturizer.  Then I can put on the shiner.”

Paula went to the stairs and down to the landing.  “Christine, have you finished breakfast yet.  I’m all ready to do you.  Hurry up please.”
Christine started to protest again, but decided against it.  She knew it wouldn’t do any good.  She got up reluctantly.  She had been reading the article Paula had pointed out to her.  Despite herself she had found it fascinating.

“I’m coming Mom,” she called from the kitchen.

Christine walked slowly up the stairs and to the bathroom where Paula was waiting for her.

“The sooner we get started the faster it’s over Christine.  It’s going to be a routine, so there’s no point in dawdling.”

Paula had the hot towel ready.  As soon as she had a towel pinned around Christine’s neck she wrapped it around her head.  A few minutes later, having applied gel and another hot towel, she began shaving Christine.

“Christine, by now you know what to do so I shouldn’t have to tell you to put your head down.  Can you remember that, please?”

“I guess so.”  Christine was having a hard time maintaining her determination to stay mad at Paula for making her keep her head shaved.  The warmth of the hot towels and especially Paula’s gentle massage of her scalp while she put on the shaving gel was so relaxing that she kept forgetting that she was supposed to be angry.

Paula slowly shaved the back of Christine’s head, followed by the sides and finally the top.  Carefully checking for any rough spots she applied more gel and made sure it was as smooth as she could make it.  Satisfied she took a damp towel and cleaned off Christine’s now baby smooth head.

“All done Christine.  I’m really getting the hang of it.  It doesn’t take long at all now.  After you put on some moisturizer I’ll use the shiner to make it really nice looking.  Melissa, if you’re ready I’ll do you now.”

Christine slowly got out of the chair allowing Melissa to take her place.  The whole process had felt so good that she couldn’t help wanting to run her hands over her soft smooth scalp.  The coolness of the moisturizer was a shock on her warm head, but the feeling she got while massaging the moisturizer into her scalp was heavenly.  Still, in the back of her mind she kept imagining that the other kids would make her life miserable.

Paula quickly applied the face shiner to Melissa’s head, carefully blending it into her forehead and down her neck.

“There, Melissa.  It does look very nice, but don’t forget to use sun block before you go out.  That face shiner won’t keep you from getting sun burned.”

“I’ll remember, Mom.”  Melissa raced down the stairs eager to make sure everything was in order for the arrival of her friends.

“Do you want yours done Christine.”

“No thanks Mom.  I’m not going anywhere, so I think I’ll skip it.”

“No problem.  Help me clean up here.  Put the towels in the clothes basket and fold up the chair.”

In the kitchen, Melissa was busy getting everything ready.  She set out jars of pickle relish, mustard, and barbecue sauce for her hot-dogs.  In the fridge there was a container of potato salad they had gotten from the deli bar at the grocery store.  She had made a pitcher of lemonade, and of course there were three kinds of soft drinks in the fridge – root beer, caffeine free cola and orange.  Melissa had emptied one of two bags of chips into a large plastic bowl.  Out on the screened porch she had brought out several board games that she and her friends had often enjoyed playing.

She checked
everything once more.  As the time approached she began to have a little anxiety about how Audra, Penny and Cindi would react.  She remembered that Cindi had made fun of some other girls who had worn “out of style” clothes.  She couldn’t think of anything more to do.  Her fingers strayed to her head once again and their touch sent a little shiver down her spine.  She brought her hand down.

Paula walked into the kitchen to see if Melissa needed anything.  “It looks like you have everything set up very nicely.  If you need anything I’ll be upstairs in my office.”  Paula knew that, like all kids her age, she didn’t want her Mom hanging around while she was with her friends.

“OK Mom.  We’ll be fine.”

As Paula was about to leave, she heard the sound of voices and the gate to the back yard being opened.  She was tempted to stay, but decided it would be best to let Melissa handle things her own way.  Any thing she might say could make it more difficult for Melissa.  She knew that Melissa had a lot of self confidence and could deal with anything negative.

“They’re here Mom.”

“I know.  Have fun.  I’ll come around later.”

Melissa headed out the open back door to the porch to wait for her friends to park their bikes and walk around to the door.

Penny opened the screen door and stepped in, followed by Cindi and Audra.

Penny gasped as she saw Melissa.  “Holy shit, You’re bald” Cindi exclaimed.  There followed a babble of talk as all four girls interrupted each other.  Finally they calmed down.

“Do you have cancer or something?”  Cindi asked.

“No, I’m OK.  It was Mom’s idea, but I like it.”

Audra, who was African-American, finally had a chance to speak.  “You look a little like my Aunt Steffie, but she isn’t completely bald.  Can I feel it?  

Melissa leaned over for Audra who ran her fingers over Melissa’s head.

“Wow, it feels really soft and smooth.  It’s not rough feeling at all.  How did you do that?”  

“Mom shaves it every morning.  I have to put on moisturizer, and that makes it feel soft.”  

Penny reached to touch Melissa head.  “Why did she make you do it?  Weren’t you mad?”

“She took us to the shop where Kate works.  I thought she was just going to give us a trim, but she told Kate to cut it really short.  Then she told her to shave it.  I was mad but it felt so wild while she was doing it that I didn’t thing about anything else.  After a few minutes I couldn’t help liking the way it felt, and I like the way I looked in the mirror.”

“You look like a freak or something.  I’d never want to do that.  It’s too weird.  All the Kids will make fun of you.  I can’t believe your Mom did that to you.”

“Maybe they will laugh at me, but I don’t care.  I’m going to keep it shaved all summer.  Maybe I’ll keep it shaved after school starts” Melissa exclaimed defiantly.

“You look really different.  It’s kinda wild, like that singer who shaved her head on that video, but its OK.   You don’t look like a freak.  You look more like an elf or something.  You really think you will keep it shaved when school starts?”  Penny had gotten her formerly long hair cut into a pixie early in the spring and was given a hard time about it from some of her long haired classmates.  Melissa had been her staunch supporter.  She had just gotten it cut again a week earlier and it was now very short, less than two inches long on top.  Melissa had told her that she thought it look really good.

“Well, I think you look neat Melissa.  Everybody likes the way my Aunt Steffie looks.  And you look just as good as she does – maybe better.  Aunt Steffie said I would look really good with my head shaved like hers, but I didn’t want to be that different.  Maybe I will now that you are keeping yours shaved.”  Audra wore her hair in a fairly short bob with a clippered nape.

“You look weird.  Girls don’t shave their heads unless they have cancer or some horrible disease.  You’re crazy too Audra if you’re thinking about shaving your head.”

‘What’s the big deal Cindi.  You sound like you don’t want to be seen with her just because she’s bald.  What if she did have cancer or something and all her hair fell out.  Would you stop being friends with her?”

“I’m not supposed to hang around with kids that are punks or goths or stuff like that.”

“That’s not fair.  She isn’t doing anything wrong.  She can be bald if she wants to and I’ll still like her as my friend.” Penny interjected.  “I think it looks cool.  Some of the girls made fun of me when I cut off my hair, but Melissa didn’t and you didn’t, so what’s so bad about being bald?”

“It’s just too weird.”  Cindi had been reduced to repeating herself.  “I’m keeping my hair long.  I’m not going to cut it even a little bit.”

Melissa had remained quiet as her friends expressed themselves, but now she realized that there was something she could say.  “You can keep your hair as long as you want Cindi and I’ll still be your friend.  And you can think it’s weird for me to shave my head if you want.  I don’t mind.    We can all be different and still be friends.  Come on, who wants to play badminton?”

“I’m ready.  Where’re the racquets?”  Penny, the tomboy of the group, was always ready to get into any activity.  Even though she was the smallest of the four and not the best athlete she was eager to try everything.

“they’re out on the picnic table.”

Audra, the tallest and most athletic one of the group was on the local summer league soccer team and wanted to play basketball.  “Yeah, let’s have a little fun.  You coming Cindi”

“OK.”

The trouped out to the backyard where the badminton net was set up in the only large open space available.  Melissa immediately felt the heat of the sun on her head.

“Wait a minute guys.  I have to put sunscreen on my head.  I don’t want to get sunburned.”

“I never thought about that.  That would really hurt I bet.  Why don’t you get a baseball cap?”  Penny, who played on the little league baseball team  knew the value of a baseball cap.

An hour later, after much running and laughing, they had retired to the screened porch. The exercise and the sun’s heat had begun to make them all a little sweaty.

The grabbed cold drinks and sat around the game table talking.

Audra was the first to notice Melissa’s new earrings.  “Hey, Melissa, you got you ears pierced again.  That’s cool.  I thought you had to wait until you were sixteen.”

“Mom took us to the mall yesterday.  The woman who did it said that we looked sort of like angels.  Mom got hers pierced again too.”

Suddenly Penny put two and two together.  “Did your Mom make Christine shave her hair like you?  Where is she?”

“Yeah, she did.  She’s upstairs I guess.  She doesn’t like it, but I think she looks like – really great.   Everybody who’s seen her thinks she looks really cool and super good.  Mom likes it so much that she says she’s going to get hers shaved too.”

“You’re kidding.  She wouldn’t do it.”  Cindi was incredulous at this idea.

“Yes she will.  She promised that she was going to do it.  She said that she was going
to get a short haircut and already has an appointment.”

At that moment Paula came into the kitchen to fix herself a sandwich and also to check on the girls.

“Hello girls.  Everything OK?”

“We’re fine Mom.  I think we’re going to fix the hot dogs in a little while.”

Melissa turned to Cindi.  “Go ahead Cindi, ask her yourself.”

“Ask me what?”

“Melissa said that you were going to shave off all your hair, but I don’t believe it.”

“Actually Melissa’s right.  You know she wouldn’t just tell you something like that unless it was true.  I do like the way the girls look.  And I really want to see how I look without any hair.  I think that I will look quite good.  I know some people will think that I’m weird or crazy or something, but that’s OK.  I’m really looking forward to it.”  

“I told them you were getting your hair cut short pretty soon too.”

“That’s right Cindi.  I have an appointment three weeks from Friday.  I have a feeling that I’ll never have long hair again after that. I’ve always wanted it short Cindi, but people kept telling me I had to keep it long for people to like me.  I know that’s not true now and I going to do what I always wanted to do.”

Paula was making her first public declaration of independence, even though it was to a group of thirteen year old girls.

“But won’t people think you’re weird or laugh at you and give you a hard time?”  Cindi was finding Paula’s attitude disconcerting.  For a thirteen year old, conforming to the group was very important, and Melissa and her Mom were breaking all the rules.

“Well Cindi, it’s who I really am and how I treat people that counts; not how I cut  my hair, how I look or what kind of cloths I wear.  I’m just going to be myself.  My real friends won’t have any problem with that.”

“I guess so, but I’d be afraid that people would laugh at me and give me a hard time like some of the kids did to Penny when she got her hair cut short.”

“I know some kids would do that, but you have lots of friends who would stand up for you.  And, of course you shouldn’t do anything like cutting your hair just because Penny and Melissa have cut theirs unless you really wanted too.”

“That’s right Cindi.  I like your long hair.  You should keep it long, because it looks good and you like it.”  Audra had always admired Cindi’s long chestnut colored hair.

“Come on guys, let’s cook the hot dogs.”  Melissa thought the conversation was getting too serious and decided to try to get something else going.  “Cindi can you toast the buns in the toaster oven?”

There was a burst of hustle, bustle and laughter as the girls turned up the heat on the pot of water, sat out paper plates for their dogs and chips and raided the fridge for fixings for the hot dogs.

Christine had finally come to terms with the idea that she was going to have to be seen by people sooner or later.  She wanted to fix some lunch for herself and get a glass of the lemonade that Melissa had made.  So she decided to go to the kitchen whether or not Melissa’s friends were there.  As she walked down the stairs she could hear voices and knew that they were in the kitchen.  She hesitated, but finally decided to go on in and act as if nothing was different.  As she reached the doorway into the kitchen Audra saw her.

“Hi, Christine.  Wow, you look great!”

Penny turned to look at Christine.  “Yeah, Christine,  you look terrific.  Those big hoops are great.”

“We have a lot of hot dogs if you want one,” Melissa said.

“Thanks.  Is there enough lemonade for me to have some?”

“There’re plenty I think.  Besides we have a lot of other stuff to drink if we need it.”

Cindi had refrained from turning away from the toaster oven where she was doing the hot dog buns.  She didn’t want to look and she knew she shouldn’t say anything very critical.  She took the buns out of the oven.

“They’re done” she announced as she put them on the waiting plate.

Christine walked over and Cindi had no choice but to notice her.  There was something about Christine’s look that intrigued her.  She still found the idea of a girl with no hair bizarre, but she couldn’t take her eyes off Christine.  She knew Christine reminded her of some pictures she had seen but couldn’t remember what they were.

“Why are you starring at me Cindi?  I suppose you think I look like some kind of freak.”  Despite her resolve, Christine couldn’t help snapping at her.

Paula immediately intervened.  “Christine, none of that.  She hasn’t said anything.”

“But…”

“You heard me.  Let it go.  You can handle it the right way.”

“I didn’t mean to stare Christine.  It’s just that I saw some picture of a bald women and you reminded me of her.  It’s kinda hard to get used to, but you look very interesting somehow – like an elf princess or something.

Paula wanted things to go well for Christine and now was a chance to get things off to a good start.

“Yes, that’s it.  Christine you look regal and serene – like a fairy queen although I think elves always have long hair”

“That’s it Ms. Jenner.  It was a sculpture of an Egyptian queen in a class we had on ancient Egypt.  They said that everybody shaved their heads and wore wigs for special occasions.  What was her name Penny?”

Penny stopped to think.  “I don’t know.  I remember the picture though.  You do look a little like that, but I think you look more like Sinead”

“Like Ms Jenner said, you look very serene.”  Audra interjected.  “My Aunt Steffie would love the way you look.  If I thought I would look that good I would get my head shaved in a minute.  Maybe I will anyway.”

“That lady at “Rings and Things” said that we looked like angels, although I’ve never heard of a bald angel.”  Melissa thought the description a little bit strange, but took it as a compliment.  

Paula realized what she meant.  Christine and Melissa now had an innocent look to them.  She decided not to mention that possibility.  “Well, I have to get back to work.  You girls enjoy yourselves for the rest of the afternoon.”

Having overcome her reluctance to be seen by other kids her age, Christine decided to stay with the other girls for a while.  She knew that everyone would know about her shaved head within a day or two and she would be getting calls from some of them.  She decided that she would have to make the best of it.

The rest of the day was uneventful.

Audra was eager to have Christine visit her house the following weekend so that her Aunt Steffie could see her.  The idea of having her hair cut like her Aunt Steffie, not smoothly shaved like Christine, but clippered to about an eighth of an inch, had lodged in her brain and would not go away.  She had invited Christine to come over and Christine said that she would.

Unbeknownst to Audra the rest of the week would be very eventful for all of them.

To be continued in Part 3

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