Hair by B.R. Hostetter

January 26, 2012 Comments Off on Hair by B.R. Hostetter

Jillian made her mind up she’d leave him. “Edmund,” she called, and checked her face in the mirror. She tried for a smile but her mouth wouldn’t curl. Her lips turned down. She dug the bottom of her purse for lipstick and powder but found only mothballs and lint. “Are you listening?” she said.

“What is it?” he said. His voice came from the other room where he sat nursing a cup of tepid coffee she had poured him. 

“I’m leaving,” she said. “Didn’t you hear?”

“I heard,” he said. “Where are you going?”

“To get my hair done,” she said.

“Again?” he said.

“Not again. I want something new.”

“You look fine the way you are.”

“I look tired.”

“You don’t look tired.”

“I look tired,” she said, and leaned forward and turned her head one way then the other and traced the crow’s feet from her eyes to her ears where she then pushed back her hair and tied it in a knot.

“Maybe it’s sleep you need,” he said.

“It’s not sleep,” she said.

“Maybe it’s age. We all get old.”

“It’s not age. It’s something else.”

“Maybe it’s work,” he said. “Is it work?”

“Aren’t you listening?”

“I’m listening,” he said.

“Tell me what I said.”

“You’re getting your hair done.”

“That’s exactly what I said,” she said, and left the mirror and went to him where he sat, sipping the cup of coffee – unmoved.

“I just don’t see what the big deal is,” he said.

“That’s just it, Edmund. Have you ever complimented my hair?”

“Would you like me to compliment your hair? Is that it? Is that something you like? Your hair looks fine the way it is. I like it.”

“I’m tired, Edmund. I need a change.”

“Change is for the unhappy.”

“Now you’re listening, Edmund.”

“I’ve been listening all along. Your hair looks fine the way it is.”

“My mind’s made up.”

“I know it is. I can see it is. Just don’t go cutting too much.”

Jillian left Edmund where he sat, sipping the coffee gone cold.

“How would you like it?” the hairdresser said.

“Shave it,” Jillian said.

“Shave it?” the hairdresser said.

“Shave it,” Jillian said again. “I want to feel new again.” Jillian smiled and tucked her chin to her chest and checked the mirror. “I made my mind up,” she said.  

The hairdresser nodded. And Jillian knew the woman had heard her. 

2011 B.R. Hostetter

Ben received his Ba in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. He lives in Charlottesville, VA, where he writes everyday with his cat, Copernicus.

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