Why My Mother Is No Longer a Hairdresser by Erica Plouffe Lazure
Flash Fiction Semi-Finalist, LISP 2nd Quarter 2020
Why My Mother Is No Longer a Hairdresser by Erica Plouffe
She was always the pin-n-curl girl, the one the blue-haired ladies came to see on a weekly standing appointment: Jeanette on Tuesdays at 10, followed twenty minutes later by her sister Josie, a cascade of rinse and wash, clip and roll. They’d spend a full forty minutes under the dome claw dryer reading the paper or a gossip magazine, checking up every so often to see what Bob Barker was up to. The dryer’s whirr was too loud for conversation, and they sat in happy solitude, the one quiet slice of time in their week when no one needed or wanted them. When it was time for the comb out, the curlers would coil free, one by one, leaving behind stiff whorls of darkened hair, which she’d then comb up and out, tease and tame each lock into shape, fortified by Aqua-Net. And the ladies would go on with their week, hair unmoving and voluminous, cloaked by a plastic rain bonnet, affirmed their standing appointment. But one day Jeannette fell ill, and Josie had to tend to her, and then she got worse, and in time the Tuesday appointment roster shifted, and the ladies who came got older, and then got too old to leave their homes, and in time, the clip and curl girl had less and less to do at Nu-Look, and women started wearing their hair long and natural, so they eventually let her go, and she ended up back waiting tables at her first job, Friendly’s Ice Cream, looking longingly at the ladies who came in with their feathered hair and pin curls, thinking I can fix that.