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“So, are you ready for next week?” The doctor pulled up a stool next to Meg.

“Everything looks good from my end but I want to make sure you are ready for the limitations. You are a very active woman and six months will be a challenge for you. Have you talked to Dr. Mickov as I suggested?”

“Yes, and he was very nice. I actually met with him twice, but I don’t need a shrink! This is not life threatening and there will be only a half-inch scar. The surgery is very simple but the hardest part is the time to regain motion! I know I will be unable to move my shoulder and will basically sit there for a period of time, but it is worth it. I wish my parents had fixed this when I was little, but you and I both know the medical advice of the day said wait on fixing this kind of birth defect. I am just happy for children now that that thinking has changed.” Meg hated being seen as anything but perfect. She was 34 years old, trim build, knockout features and thick hair that fell four inches below her shoulder. She had made arrangements to work from home as she recovered, but refused her doctor’s advice about live in care, especially the first month. “I promise, I am fine! Just ready to get this over with and back to my life!”

“Well, since you don’t want any help,” as if he read her mind, “I want you to tape up your arm and don’t use it for 24 hours. Be honest about what you can’t do. I am afraid that you will get home after the surgery and nobody will be there for you.” Meg said she would think about it and went back to work.

That evening, the more Meg thought about the doctor implying that she would not get along, the angrier she became. “I’ll show him!” It was Friday evening and she had planned to get ahead on work projects this weekend, so it was perfect timing. She decided to tie a scarf around her torso and arm as a reminder not to use it. She then put a large band-aid on each side so if she stretched, she would feel the tug of the band-aids and restrict her movement. Well, as you can imagine, Meg had not even gotten to the kitchen before she was irritated with the restive scarf. She couldn’t lift anything, reach for anything, and was basically an invalid. When she showered, it was a disaster legs nicked, most body parts unwashed and her hair only got went. She was taking of the scarf when the there was a knock at the door.

“I know you are working this weekend, but you have to eat something.” She threw her arms around Patrick and burst into tears. “Hey, what gives” It’s just pizza.” Meg updated her boyfriend on the day’s happenings as they devoured the pizza. “Well, with the lack of activity and your appetite, in six months..” he trailed off and winked at her.

“I know this is my choice, but if I don’t do it now, it will be harder when I am older. I just can’t imagine being confined for six months.”

“He said six months on the outset. It could be as little as three months.”

“Three months living like this!!!! I mean, look at my legs! Look at my hair! There are so many knots in it right now, a small rodent could nest in it.”

Patrick pulled her to him and started finger combing her hair. “I will get the knots out for you and then we can was it in Raid.” They both laughed as Meg went to get a brush. She did love it when he brushed her hair. He would go over her scalp, again and again, the bristles scraping gently across her scalp.

“You know, you could cut some of the length and that might cut down on some of the knots.” She winced, but Meg knew he was right. However, she was making so many sacrifices that she just could not make one more. “Right here,” as he pulled her hair forward, “right here at your shoulders.” She said nothing. “Come with me to the bathroom.” They stood in front of the mirror as Patrick took the front part of her hair and bent it to it appeared to fall at her shoulders. “See, it still frames your face, you have the length, but not so many knots. And it will grow back in no time. I could even give you bangs,” as he flipped some of the back hair over her forehead. She had to laugh for she did love him so! And he was only trying the help.

“Okay, let’s do it. Now before I change my mind.” Meg pulled off her sweater leaving only her tank top. She opened the cabinet drawer and picked up a pair of scissors. She looked at Patrick in the mirror. “It was your idea. Do you want to make the first cut or should I?”

“Wait! I was just tossing out the idea. I did not mean for you to rush into it. Do you want to think about it, oh, let’s say, ONE MINUTE!”

Meg smiled at him in the mirror. “Look, it’s logical and really is not that much of a change. In six months, my hair will have grown back to this length. So,” as she held out the scissors, “let’s get the hard part over.”

“You know you are crazy and I love you for it! But since it is your hair, you start and I will help clean up in the back.”

“Chicken!”

“I grew up with three sisters and had the crap beaten out of me when I cut one of the Barbie’s hair. I swore never again!” He hugged her.

Meg fingered her hair and pulled it forward. “I guess here?” She positioned the scissors at the top of her shoulders and started to close. There was resistance and she ended up working to get that first bit off. But when she did, she saw a good four-inch difference between the two sides.

“Meg, honey, these scissors are too dull and your hair will look horrible. Do you have a sharpener in the kitchen?” She told him where and before he left, he kissed her on the check. “I love you.”

She stood there and looked at herself. It seemed like a big difference but it really wasn’t. And it seemed like it would hurt, but it did not. There was no pain, no need for aspirin, it was just hair, hanging there lifeless. She looked down and what had fallen had not been injured. She would not held accountable for damaging it. It was her hair; it had been attached to her head and now it was on the floor. Simple as that. She looked back at her reflection. She knew that shoulder length was not really going to make that much of a difference. She could have Patrick even it up and be done with it. But she decided to take control. She was loosing so much control, and this was one thing she could control. And she wanted control of her life.

Patrick came back in the bathroom. “I think this will be better. Shall I finish the cut?”

“Why don’t I test it on the other side?” She took the scissors from him and placed them at the top of her shoulder. But then with a quick, decisive motion, slide them up the lock of hair just below her ear. As the scissors closed, Patrick’s eyes flew open.

“What are you doing” Your hair!”

“I want control of my life. I can control this. This is my decision. Face it, it will make it easier to care for. And if I don’t like it, it will grow it back out.” She turned and kissed him. “I thought you were an adventurous guy” How many times in your life will you be able to cut a woman’s hair and not have the crap beaten out of you?” They both laughed and hugged.

“What style are you looking for?”

“I don’t know. I had no plans to even cut my hair before ten minutes ago. Let me even up the front.” With that, she snipped the first sheared lock again. “Why don’t you even up the back and get rid of the length. I look pretty stupid right now.” Meg noticed Patrick had a slight tremor as he reached for the scissors. She took his hand, “I trust you. And there are salons open tomorrow if we need to clean it up. Just help me get rid of the bulk of it while I am thinking logically ” as soon as I start thinking emotionally, I will change my mind.”

Patrick took a deep breath and started cutting. At first, there was hesitation, but then his confidence grew. The cutting became more and more deliberate, and Meg found herself starting the get aroused. He glanced up and saw her staring at him in the mirror. He took the lock of hair in his hand and handed it to her. She gasped when she saw the eight inches in her hand. Patrick worried about her reaction
and quickly cut the last section. He fingered her hair. It had new life, a playfulness, almost as if it were flirting with him. He took her hands and pulled them up to her head.

“I love it!” She paused. “I mean, I was not sure, and as you were cutting, I liked the style, but,” she rubbed her neck, “there is nothing there! When I touch it, it moves, I mean really moves! I can’t believe how much I love it! If I had known, I would have done this long ago!” She turned around. “What do you think” And don’t lie to me ” be honest! If you don’t like it, I would rather know the truth now. I mean it can always grow
” Before she could finish her sentence, Patrick placed his lips on hers and muffled her doubts.

The next morning, Meg got up to shower. As she ran her hand down her hair, she tired to get used to the new length. She kept touching it and playing with it. After about ten minutes of this, Patrick came into the bathroom with the scarf. “You forgot this.” She had indeed forgotten it and quickly wrapped it around her arm. “Now, start again.”

“You are kidding me” I am almost through and I want to see what shape my hair is in after it dries in case I need to have a professional clean it up.”

“You can try it now, or you can try it after your surgery. Your choice.” With that, he left the bathroom. Meg knew he was right. She reached for the shampoo and started washing her hair again. It was much easier than last night with so much hair gone, but every time she bent her head so her arm would not pull her back, hair fell into her face and soap got into her eyes. After struggling for fifteen minutes (and three rinsings), Meg gave up and finished using both hands as normal. She wiped the steam from the mirror and stared. Patrick had done a wonderful job, but her hair was a bit uneven. She resigned herself that a professional had to finish the job.

She tossed on a robe, wrapped her hair in a towel and found Patrick on the computer. “You were right. I couldn’t do it.”

“Meg, this is not about being right. But I want this to be as easy for you as possible.”

“I know, and I love you for being there for me! I just don’t like the confinement! I guess that is what I am dreading. I don’t like giving up control. You know that about me.” She reached down to hug him.

“That is why you should take charge about your hair. Don’t let this be a reaction, but something you want to do.” Patrick paused as he pulled up a chair beside him. “Come and sit here. I want to show you something. I have been checking some sites and found this one where I could take your picture and try different hairstyles. Look at this.” Patrick pulled up a picture of Meg at the beach where her hair was slicked down from the ocean water. He zoomed in and made it a simple headshot. A couple of clicks (he had obviously been working on this while she was in the shower) and Meg had a green Mohawk. “What do you think?”

“I pity the fool!” Meg yelled as she reached over and started tickling Patrick. “Okay, okay. I see what you are going for. Where are the styles?” Patrick pointed to the lower corner. “First, get out of the “alternative” category! What about medium length?” They scanned the options and Meg’s heart started pounding. “All of the options are longer than my hair! I did not realize I technically had short hair! What have I done?”

“It does not matter what someone else defines your hair length, but what you like. You have always had a rebellious side to you, why are you conforming now?” Meg knew he was right. “Look at these, basically with your length and maybe a little layering here and there.”

“I don’t know the bowl cuts look like something out of the 1970s and the rest all look like something out of the 1920s. Would they have to shave my neck” That sounds pretty short.”

“Not necessarily ” depends on the cut.” Patrick’s cell phone rang in the kitchen. “Back in a sec.” Meg moved into Patrick’s chair and started playing. She looked at long options, and each one looked like she was weighted down with nothing but hair. She went back to the alternative category. Lots of punk ideas ” so that’s what she would look like bald” No thanks! What about the super short category, she thought. Wow! Those are really short! Meg fingered her hair unconsciously. But then her eyes caught one style. She clicked the mouse a couple of times just as Patrick came back. “That was my sister. She is getting a new car and wanted my opinion on a car versus an SUV. Say, what do you have there” I like!”

“I was just playing. I never thought about a pixie and it is terribly short.”

“What does it say” Patrick scanned the screen. “Best with medium to thick hair, especially wavy. So far, so good.” Meg looked at him with concern. “Depending on the preference, between 1-3 inches. That would eliminate the hair and soap in your eyes. Don’t look at me that way ” you were the one who put the hair on your picture. With your cheekbones, you look great! And if you don’t like it, it will grow back. It would be short only for the duration of your confinement.” Meg saw the logic and her eyes were still sore from the soap. And she had to admit, she looked great. Patrick put his arm around her shoulder, “And you actually would not be loosing any more on your neck, just layering. And if it is true about the half an inch in a month, by the time you recover, it will be well on its way to the length you have now, and actually much longer on your neck.”

Again, his logic was there. “Alright, let me think about it. Why don’t you get us some breakfast and leave me alone for a bit. I will have an answer when you come back.”

Patrick gave her a hug. “And I do want it to be YOUR answer, with no influence on my part. I don’t want you resenting me!” He put on his coat. “Oh, by the way, I called your salon and Jennifer can see you at 3:00. Don’t look like that ” your hair needs evening up if you leave it that length. I just grabbed the appointment time for you. Back in a few.” Meg was momentarily irritated with him, but knew a professional had to clean this up one way or another. She dressed and looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. Truthfully, she did not like the way her hair kept falling into her face. But what made her love it last night” Maybe it was the novelty. Maybe it was the way Patrick cut her hair. But those were fleeting reasons. She had to think for the long run. She tilted her head to the side. She did have a nice neck and jaw line. And the picture on the computer with shorter pieces around her face, her feature were really highlighted. And it really was only the top few pieces that needed cutting.

Meg walked back to the computer and zoomed into the picture. The ears were completely exposed. The hair on top was about two inches long, long enough to style, but short enough to be functional. “It is my decision!” With that, Meg walked into the bathroom, picked up the scissors where they had been left the evening before and repeated, “My decision!” She positioned the scissors in front of her right ear, pointing upwards, and cut. It was much easier than the first cut last night, but it could have been since Patrick had sharpened them. But maybe it was easier because she wanted this. She started snipping around her ear and down the hairline. When done, she felt like a Vulcan! Oh well, must have a matching set. She repeated the process on the left side. While she loved her exposed neck, she did not like the way her thick hair mushroomed around her ears. So she held out a section of hair on the left side and cut, leaving a generous three inches of hair between the scissors and
her head but suddenly stopped. Once she made this cut, the top length would have to go. Now it still had motion. Once she closed the blades, it would be months before she could flip her hair in the breeze.

But then she thought. How many times do I actually flip my hair in a breeze” The blades closed quickly.

Meg looked at her hair with disbelief. She had done it. Again, no pain, not prosecution for destroying hair. Just hair on the floor, waiti
ng to be swept away in the trash. Meg took a deep breath and picked up another lock of hair and cut. Then another and another. By the time she was finished, most of her hair was about three inches long and sticking up all over her head. She tried to brush it down, but she knew she needed professional help. She wrapped the towel back around her head and went back to the computer.

A few minutes later, Pat arrived with some pastries. He put them in the kitchen and went to the bathroom. He immediately came back into the living room and looked at Meg. “Uh, anything you want to tell me?” At first Meg was puzzled, but then she realized he must have seen the hair all over the floor. With that, she pulled the towel off. Hair stood out everywhere. “Uh, yes, um,” he paused. “So you decided on the pixie cut?”

“I know it looks horrible, but I wanted control. And you said we were going to the salon at three, so why let Jennifer decide how long or short. This way, she can see what I want. Sort of…” Meg did not like the way Pat looked at her. “And remember, this whole thing was your idea, so stop looking at me that way!”

“I did not realize I was looking at you any way. I guess I wish you had let me help you. I confess, I had fun cutting your hair.”

Meg jumped up and hugged him. “I am so sorry! I did not realize. If you want, you can snip a little bit more before we go. Why don’t we eat breakfast and you can think about what you want to do as you gaze as my beauty across the table?” She flashed a sweet and innocent smile. And so they sat down and ate a silent meal, Pat constantly gazing at her hair and Meg wondering what was going on in his mind. After breakfast, Patrick said he wanted to do some research on the computer and would be ready to work on her hair soon. Meg plopped down on the sofa to do some work, but her mind kept wondering to Patrick and what he was up to. But finally, she tuned her focus to work.

Suddenly, Patrick threw a sheet around Meg’s shoulders. She jumped with surprise, but suddenly found something in front of her face. “What are you doing?” Meg giggled.

“I am the Phantom of the Barbers!” Patrick could not hold back his own laughter. “You will be at my mercy! I have taped the wash cloth on your face so you can not what I am doing.”

“PATRICK! Did you use duct tape?”

“I am also the Phantom of Home Depot!”

“PATRICK! I can’t imagine what duct tape will do to my pores!” Meg could hardly talk between her laughter.

“Shhh stop talking. Listen and feel. Just listen and feel.” With that, Meg realized that Vivaldi was playing in the background. She felt his hands massage her head, the way he did when he was trying to seduce her. She could not help but notice that his hands were not restricted by small knots and long hair, but were free to explore. And gradually, his hands slowed so that she could barely feel them move. She was falling into a deep state of relaxation when she heard a different sound. She concentrated and realized Patrick only had one hand on her head and the sound was that of scissors.

“Patrick” What are you doing?”

“Cutting your hair, as you asked. Don’t worry, you will still have plenty of hair.”

“I trust you, but I don’t like not being able to see.”

He kissed her neck. “Don’t see with your eyes. Feel it. Hear it.” With that, he brushed a newly shorn lock on the top of her forehead.

“That does not feel like a little piece.”

“Trust me.” And he kept cutting. Occasionally, Meg would feel the tug of her hair in the scissors, but mainly only felt Patrick’s hand. She just heard the scissors. Open and close. Open and close. She noticed Patrick spent a long time on the back of her head, but she trusted him.

After almost a half of an hour, Patrick stopped the massaging. He took Meg’s hands and brushed them through her hair. It was like Christmas morning for her! She kept felling in anticipation wondering what had been given to her. The top was about what she remembered it being, but the sides and back seemed shorter, almost like long velvet on the lower back area. With that, she could stand it no more and took off the washcloth. “I want to see!”

She ran to the bathroom and was greeted by a stranger. A beautiful stranger. An elegant stranger. A sophisticated stranger. “Patrick” Is that really me?”

“I honestly never thought it would end up like this when I tossed out the idea yesterday, but as I live and breathe, I am so glad it turned out like this. You have always been the most beautiful woman to me, but now, your beauty far exceeds anything I could imagine!”

Before he could say anything else, Meg kissed him. But curiosity soon got the better of her and she pulled away to look again in the mirror. On top, it was about an inch and a half ending around her ears. As she felt the back, she gasped. “It”s so short!” And it indeed was! Patrick had scissored the back to a soft half-inch. While it was not as even as a professional would have done, you could not tell unless you looked very carefully. Meg kept running her hand up and down the back of her head, growing more and more excited! She finally flung her arms around him and started to jump and down screaming.

“Calm down!” Patrick begged. “Please! Calm down! Are you angry or happy ” I can’t tell!” All this was over Meg’s screams.

“I LOVE IT!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE EVERYTHING!!!”

“So you are okay with this?” Patrick couldn’t help himself and started jumping with her.

“YES! YES! YES! I love it!!” She started kissing Patrick; all the while they were still jumping as if they had won the national championship. Finally, out of breath, they stood and looked at each other in the mirror. “Patrick, I do love it. If I had known yesterday that my hair would be this short, I never would have agreed to this. But I would not have known how great this looks and feels.” Patrick kissed her bare neck and Meg sighed in the back of her throat. “And that is the hidden bonus only you and I will share.”

“But don’t forget the appointment this afternoon. It does need a clean up.”

“No, not today.” Meg studied her hair. ” I agree it needs a bit of work, but I would rather wait for a few weeks. Mainly, I will need a goal to get me out of the house for the first time. Then maybe we can go a little shorter?”

“We?”

“Yes, WE! The two of us! This is a journey we both will take.” With that, Meg took Patrick’s hand and pulled him toward her bed.

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