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“A clean-up.” “Something more feminine- to suit her age.”

Mum had told her what they had discussed. She just did as she was told.

It was about time she made some changes at this point in her life. She had always been artistic and independent but some of her friends hadn’t grown up yet. Her tummy-button length straight blonde hair betrayed who she really was. She needed to know which way she wanted to go- she guessed that college would help her with that.

She had agreed but as she arrived at the salon she got a feeling of foreboding but didn’t know why. They tried to make you look pretty.

The stylist welcomed her and I immediately felt at my ease.

“Hi, I’m Stephanie. You must be Claire.” She put a cape on me and led me to the sinks. “So, are you ready?” I sweetly smiled at her.

Unusually Stephanie washed my hair not leaving it to the assistant, “So, what do you do Claire?”

“I’m about to start art college.”

“I had you for a cheer leader.”

“I am. But I find art more interesting.”

“Does that not create conflict?”

I was perplexed. She really had me thinking. I couldn’t answer her.

Before I knew it we were done. She led me to the chair. It was an old-fashioned barber’s chair and I felt myself relax immediately.

“Right. I will start straight away.” I was disappointed to see my reflection looking irritated. That question had really vexed me. She had clearly seen it to so didn’t say anything further.

She brushed my hair thoroughly root to tip. I couldn’t see what she was doing. She clipped the hair around my temples forward next to my cheeks and tried to relax while she kept her word by starting at the back. She brushed my hair back. I couldn’t tell what she was doing.

Then I heard the scissors. She had pulled my hair back and cut the hair closest to my neck. I didn’t think about it- still contemplating her earlier question. She was working from the bottom up horizontally. I heard the scissors at work but didn’t see what she was doing.

She was actually cutting about an inch from my neck but with my head down and my eyes closed all I could hear was the scissors. I was starting to relax and the actual haircut itself didn’t concern me. It was only when I heard the scissors then felt her bearing down on the back of my head did I feel suspicious that she was cutting my hair short.

It was only when she had reached the top of my head and lifted the hair into the air with her comb that I looked in the mirror and realised that was my hair and saw where she placed the scissors. They disappeared into my hair and I felt the vibration of her fingers as they worked severing the last of my long hair at the back of my head. Had my mother agreed this? My stomach did a flip. I hadn’t even considered that she would cut it short.

A pulse ran through me as she dusted the remaining hair on my head- it was SHORT?! Shorter than even I had realised. I felt as she levelled up some of the hairs- it was very close to my head as I felt the scissors continuely cutting. I suddenly remembered what my mum said. She has to make me look good- what was I worrying about- yes, it was short but maybe I had needed the push.

She must have seen my face because she stopped and said “Don’t worry. Just let me finish.” I was reassured.

She picked up the comb again and un-tethered the front clips. “I have to be done soon so I will do this quickly.” She moved away from me. I saw her plug something in. I saw the clippers in the mirror before I knew what they were. I watched as she lifted the hair that would constitute a fringe backwards used the comb and swooped with the clippers as the hair fluttered to the floor. She worked her way backwards over my head then lifted the next level of hair. She was DEFINITELY speeding up. I watched my reflection as she worked.

She picked all of the hair around my ear and one by one she severed each of the locks of hair so close to my head that I could feel it and I liked it. I watched my reflection as my hair started to disappear. I felt winded. I knew that the back was short but I couldn’t cope with learning that the rest of my hair would be so short.

The whole left side of my head was short back and sides- I had shivered every time one of the long locks had hit the floor. She lifted the hair with the comb then swooped and the hair flopped onto my shoulders then to the floor then she had completed the left. Over my ears, around my neck. She turned the clippers off and picked up the scissors again and I watched as she trimmed, half-inches floated the floor. I looked strange- one side long, one side short. She dusted the left side- still not short enough. She picked up the clippers and started to trim the left side of my head. I was starting to accept this new haircut. I was eager to get the other side done.

She removed the attachment and replaced it with a smaller one as I felt her pushed it backwards over my head small flecks of hair flying everywhere.

I watched as she un-pinned the right-hand side. Soon I would be the owner of VERY short hair.

I watched as she repeated the process, lifting the long hair over the comb then cutting very close to my head- this time I could feel the scissors resting on my head as she worked her way down to my shoulders, I started to smile as the first flutter of long hair reached my shoulder. I liked my reflection and it slowly dawned on me.

The feeling of her hand moving with the scissors so close to my head it almost vibrated as she removed my hair was becoming enjoyable. I knew that it was going to be over sooner than I wanted. I watched her scissors speed up as the style was completed. I looked so much prettier without the weight of long hair. She revved the engine of the clippers adding the small attachment. She pushed it backwards repeatedly over the right-side of my head. I was falling in love with the sound of the engine- the vibration against my head as hair was severed from my head. She pushed my head slowly backwards as she went.

Engine abruptly was switched off. My hair was now so thin and short- she must have read my mind. “You want to touch it?”

I did. It was 4mm approx. long all over my head- I touched the sides, the back- no pony-tail?!

I put my hand down as she showed me the back with her hand-mirror. “Let me just brush it back- show you how to style it” she said with a little smirk. It felt VERY strange. I knew which way I had to go- I had to fulfill my destiny.

I smiled a new smile as I paid the lady.

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