For Char

I told you, I was going for something totally new. It all started with me cruising into the parking lot of my childhood barber shop, every crack in the street there was too familiar. Walking into the room to wait for my turn felt different than all the rest had, but maybe because I was never so nervous about a cut like this one would be. I'd only been sitting for a few minutes when my elementary school friend Christian came up to me. "Arlo! It's been years since I've seen you!" he'd shouted in a deep, excited voice. 

We caught up with each other, and he showed me his stepdaughter, who was on the other side of the shop playing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper from the old jukebox. Yeah, Christian was married. Wow. Right as he asked me if I had any kids running around, Lucille, my barber, came into the main area from the back. She gave me a quick glance and nodded towards her chair to tell me it was my turn. By the time I barely was out of my seat to walk over, she was in my arms giving me a bear hug. "Arlo, my baby! What can I do for you today?" she asked. Guess it took her a double take to recognize me. I pushed off her question and said, "Hi, Lucille. How are you?" She was more than happy to take this invitation to talk, and told me about everything big that went on while I was away at university. I didn't even notice the walls of the shop were repainted and the new mirrors. "Always took you a while to recognize new things. Head always in other places," Lucille laughed. "So really, what can I do for you today? The rush is about to start soon." Before I said anything I went over in my head what style my niece Charlotte had come up with. She was always trying to get me to do new things. I only went with this because honestly, I wanted something new, too. Her exact words were "You should dye your hair, and... chop off a few inches, it's a little long."

Why I would take advice from a flamboyant teenager like her, I'm not sure, but I wasn't gonna dwell on the thought and punk out at the last minute. So, I said, "Maybe a tr—cut— up to here," I put my hand to the part of my neck where my chin ended, "and I wanna go brunette." I looked around to make sure no one had overheard that last part. Did most guys dye their hair? Lucille gave me a questioning look like "You sure about this?" And like I’d read her mind, she said just that. I nodded quickly. "Alriiiiiigght, anything for you," she said and started on my hair. "I guess a dark brown would bring out your pretty blue eyes. What is this for anyway?" Lucille asked. 

I told her about the wedding I was in. "It's tomorrow, actually," I said, smirking some. Lucille didn't let that past her and asked what the smirk was all about. "Well, I gotta look good for the ladies," I smiled. She laughed. Really laughed. To her that was a knee slapper. "Aww come on Lucille, I was telling the truth." I chuckled a little. So what if it's been a while since I've had someone? Okay, a little longer than a while... Since my third year in college, actually. So, like, three years. Not bad. "Okay, okay, Mama Lucy's gonna hook you up," Lucille said and patted my shoulder. Then she said something I dreaded would come out of her mouth. "Wait... you're the best man for Nick? Wasn't he tripping rainbows over that one girl you dated? Oh, what's her name..." I mumbled, "Selena, yeah." Right in the damn bull’s eye. I forgot how smart this lady was.

Selena and I were the closest; inseparable. I don't even remember what made us split up. Distance? I couldn't stand to be far away from her, I remembered that. Yeah, I'd gone off the college and she was at home finishing up high school. She was so beautiful, from head to toe. Those light brown eyes lit up a room when I saw her. But she was a memory now. For me, at least.

I didn't realize I was daydreaming and left Lucille chattering on. Soon enough I came back to life to see Lucille coming back to my chair with a mirror. When she gave it to me, I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes. No more dirty blond, no more hair making my neck hot. I opened my eyes to dark brown strands of hair hugging my face. I barely saw myself. Definitely new. "You must like it, the smile says it all," Lucille said. "Yeah," I said, "I could run with this for a while, actually."

It still looks pretty okay, right?