Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hair (07/04/19)
- TITLE: No Judgments Against Funky Purple
By Leah Nichols
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She looked up, enviously eyeing Jeff to the left of her station, laughing with his client. How come he gets a real client?
Suddenly the fake head slipped from her grasp, slid across the desk, and plunged to the floor. Immediately her face lit with a purple-red hue as she bent to pick it up.
“Everything okay, Mandy?” Of COURSE Jamie the instructor just happened to be walking by.
Mandy fumbled for the plastic head and a few pins which had fallen as well. “Oh, um, yeah.” A brilliant response. That’ll impress him for sure. “Sorry, I just accidentally knocked it over.” She stood, awkwardly clutching the head by its base.
“As long as your clients don’t end up in the same situation, I think we can overlook it this once.” Jamie winked, and chuckled at his own wit as he moved on.
Mandy set the head upright and began repinning the blue hair back into curls, trying to ignore the fluttering feeling in her stomach. How does a guy that good looking get a job as a salon instructor? Plus, in their first class he had told the guys not to hit on him, being the exception to the cliché that all male stylists were gay. She sneaked another peek in the mirror, admiring his pensive examination of Jeff’s trimming job.
Focus, focus! Turning her eyes back to the plastic head, she fingered the blue hair. Someday, when I have my own shop, I’m going to bring traditional styles back. These crazy colors just don’t become women’s faces.
A touch on her shoulder broke her contemplation. “Hey, Mandy, can you take a last minute walk-in client? I know it’s only an hour and a half until closing.” Sadie stood at her side, holding a half-sheet of paper.
“Sure,” Mandy replied, internally celebrating that she could stop pinning the blue-haired head.
“Great. Get your stuff ready and come pick up Janice at the front.” Sadie handed Mandy the paper.
As Mandy approached the desk five minutes later, she called for Janice, and a thin middle-aged woman with long brown hair stood. “Hi, I’m Mandy.” She held out her hand. “How can I help you today?”
Janice took the outstretched hand and shook it gently. “I want you to chop it short, and dye it purple.”
“Purple? You sure about that?” Janice looked like the type of woman who would only do traditional cuts, and her hair looked natural, with several silver strands mixed in with the brown.
“I’m sure.” Janice followed Mandy to her station and confidently sat on the chair. “It’s my hair, and my choice.”
“Of course. Whatever you want,” Mandy said as she wrapped the drape around Janice. Another person who wants to wreck her perfectly normal hair.
Before she could look for her instructor, he was at her side, greeting her client. “Janice! So good to see you. Thanks for letting one of our students practice on you.”
Janice stood up and reached from under the drape to hug him. “Sweet Jamie, of course I would come to your place. If I’m going to do something crazy with my hair, I might as well have someone get the experience.”
“What’s the plan?”
Mandy paused, until she realized that both the instructor and client were staring at her. “Oh, Janice would like her hair cut short and dyed purple,” she stammered.
“You’re in luck, Janice,” Jamie said. “Mandy here was just practicing with blue hair, so she’ll be just the girl for you.” He grabbed the sheet from Mandy’s hand and scribbled his signature on the bottom. “Mandy, I expect that you’ll take great care of my friend from church. She’s been an amazing inspiration for me, going on six months of chemotherapy.”
Mandy felt her face starting to redden again as she swallowed the judgments she had already leveled at Janice in her mind. Chemotherapy? Janice was probably losing her hair, not just experiencing age-related thinning. This was her taking charge of something she could control.
“I’ll do my best,” Mandy replied. What’s wrong with purple? It might actually look pretty on Janice.
Silently, she repented of her snap judgments and prayed for wisdom. “Let’s head to the washing station and get you a nice scalp massage. Then we can pick your purple and fix you up to look funky.”
Janice laughed. “Funky. I like that.”
Mandy smiled. I do too.
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