“Anita, I think we should leave,” Sylvia whispered to her best friend as they waited in the lobby of the hair saloon. “You heard the clerk, your stylist is sick today. Who knows who I’ll get and what kind of hairdo I’ll end up with.”
“Don’t be silly, this is Cabella’s, which means beautiful hair in French.”
“I studied French for years and I never heard of that word.”
“Well, maybe it’s Spanish or something. Don’t worry, I’ve been coming here for ever and have never been disappointed.”
Sylvia looked at her friend’s hair. “Really?”
“Well, maybe once or twice, but they always gave me a discount on my next visit.”
“Anita, this is my wedding we’re talking about. There’s not gong to a next time. Besides I’m nervous enough without wondering if I’m going to walk out of here looking like Aunt Pity Pat from Gone with the Wind.”
A large woman of about forty, dressed in a black polka-dotted muumuu with bleached hair and dark roots walked into the lobby. She caught Sylvia’s wide eyes and said, “Sylvia? Hi, I’m Rose.” She extended a hand with a rose tattoo. “I’ll be doin’ your hair today.”
Anita pushed her friend up. “Go on, everything will be fine.” She looked at Rose. “My friend’s a little nervous. It’s her wedding, but the lady doing her hair had an emergency. That’s why we’re here.”
Rose smiled broadly, showing a gold tooth. “A weddin’? Now ain’t that grand and don’t worry ‘cause weddin’ hairdos are my specialties. Why in beauty school we must have studied,” she counted on her fingers,” at least a whole week on wedding dos.”
“I…I don’t know,” Sylvia stammered.
“Don’t worry, Honey. I have enough gel and shellac back there to give that hair of yours just the lift and shine it needs. I can even do curls if you want. Course it might not take with your kinda hair.”
Sylvia flushed, running her fingers through her hair. “Anita,” she said, turning to her friend. “I’m not sure about this.”
“What time’s the weddin’?” Rose asked.
“Three,” Anita replied.
“Plenty of time - you know in case things don’t work out. Course we shouldn’t do a perm ‘cause that might not wash out if you don’t like it and then you’d have frizz and pink highlights like some kinda poodle.”
Sylvia’s eyes grew wider and Anita touched her shoulder reassuringly. “It’s getting late and we’re here. Besides, I can always fix the veil to hide everything.”
“Pink poodle frizz?” Sylvia mumbled silently behind Rose as she waddled back to her station.
“Uh, I like your flip flops,” Sylvia said for lack of anything to say.
“These ole things? One of my ex husbands gave ‘em to me.”
Sylvia sat down in the beauty chair and shirked when she saw her reflection in the mirror. Instantly she began fussing with her hair.
“It’s the spotlight, Honey. Makes everyone look like Freddy Kruger going bald – not that he isn’t already bald. Can’t seem to remember him without his hat, but the spotlight does that, so it’s not just you. I kinda like Freddy myself; he’s just misunderstood.” She grinned, gold tooth shining in the mirror.
Sylvia swallowed hard and looked down at the counter. “I...I see you have a Chia Pet.”
“Yes, Scooby Doo. Just love him. One of my customer’s gave him to me for inspiration. Would you like some coffee? I can’t seem to get started without coffee. Already had six cups this morning. Woo hoo,” she laughed, pulling an imaginary long-haul truck whistle in the air.
Sylvia didn’t answer so Rose continued. “Will you want a cream rinse? That’s extra. Don’t know why they can’t tell that to customers up front, but no, they leave it for us. But, seeing as it’s a special day, I won’t charge you. I’ll even treat you to something I make up at home, in my tub. Wonderful stuff, use it myself.”
The lights in the saloon flickered and went out. There were a few nervous screams. “Don’t be scared,” Rose said, “it’s just the rats. Kinda like them myself, but they can be a terror sometimes.”
“Thank-you, God,” Sylvia prayed in the darkness.
“Did you say something, Honey?”
“Yes, silly me. I just remembered my wedding’s next Saturday.”
And, with that, Sylvia jumped out of her chair just as the lights flickered back on and gasped as her bridesmaids and original hairdresser gathered around her giggling and shouting, “Surprise!”
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