By JimB ©opyright February 2019
For years Beth had long reddish hair, which she tenderly cared for, brushing it at night before going to bed.
Taking tend care when she washed it, only getting the ends, the uneven ends, trimmed.
She wore it loose from a center part, pulled back into a “pony-tail” or two “pig-tails”, or one thick braid.
But, she never had it styled like the others girls she grew up with.
Never thought of cutting it short for the summer nor having it styled for special events.
When it reached mid-back she made the decision to keep it at that length.
She hated it when boys would play with it.
When some would tell her, “she should cut it a little shorter”, even getting a “really” short hair cut.
Even her mother got “the stare”, she would give when someone mentioned cutting her hair.
When she graduated from high school her hair hung from under her “mortar-board” and swapped back and forth as she walked to receive her diploma.
Then, it was off to college after a summer of travel, her graduation present from both her parents.
Four weeks of travel to the countries of her forefathers and finding known, and unknown, family. Seeing the towns where her great-great grandparents grew up.
Returning with photos of family, the towns, and stories.
She had one month to get her things together for her first year, her freshman year in college.
When school started, it was the same thing for her new college friends, “Why not cut your hair”.
“When are you going to get the mop cut”, hints she would answer with “the stare” she gave everyone growing up over the years.
Having spent her summers taking courses instead of going around the World like some of her college friends, or taking a part-time job, or just spending time home, she was able to graduate in three years, instead of four as the others.
Her grandparents surprised her with a big graduation present, one year to hang around taking her time in finding a job.
To get use to being on her own!
To learn what it would be like in years to come.
Their present allowed her rent for an apartment and needs, the day-to-day financial needs, and time to look around the job she wanted.
It did not take her long to find the job she wanted.
It was not a local job rather one miles away from her family and friends.
She did her research on the company.
The job and the company, fitted to her years of study, her college degree.
And, the starting salary was a little less than she thought, but over the years it would, as she would grow.
Her first year, on her new job, was as she thought, learning, meeting her co-worker, knowing them, and the clients she would be doing business with.
Her job took her to a few places she had never been, even thought of going to.
After two years she moved into a larger apartment, one with two bedrooms, a nice larger living area, a dinning area and kitchen, which were separated with a small wall, a bathroom with space, and two walk-in closets.
She took advantage of one bedroom turning it into a study and reading room where she kept her small, but growing, collection of books.
Her computer was set up, just a desk and chair and a storage shelf.
After moving in she decided to try out the bathtub. It was both a bathtub and shower.
One of the settings for the shower was steam setting.
Turned to the correct setting would provide steam.
She could stand or put a small chair in the tub to sit while the shower filled with steam which she could breath in or relax her body after a day of work.
She set the time for fifteen minutes.
Slowly the steam filled the shower, her body begin to flow water, her hair became damp, her body relaxed.
The stuffiness she had in her head begin to loosen up and she looked for something to let it loose in.
When the steam bath was finished she cracked the shower door open a little to let it out.
Then, she took a nice shower, shampooing her hair three times then adding the conditioner.
Before getting out the shower, completely, she dried her hair with a larger bath towel then wrapped in another large towel.
Then, she stood in front of the bathroom mirror and dried her self off.
She noticed she was getting a little larger in places she did not want to.
But, it could be taken care of by joining a gym, which she did the next week.
The gym was a few blocks from her apartment and opened twenty-four hours.
So, she could go there any time she wanted.
They had a staff, which interviewed you to see what you wanted and made recommendation.
It started slowly building her work out time a little by little until she reached the time, spent in the gym, was to her needs then to keep her at it.
She met a lot of people and noticed things she had never see, nor thought of, before.
One thing she noticed, while in the shower after a workout, which was required by the rules of the gym, was a lot of the women had shaved pubic areas and almost half of the women had short hair.
All but one of the female staff had short hair.
She noticed the majority of the men, including the ones on the staff, had short hair cut, some even had shaved heads.
She had met one of the men, one day, and they had a nice snack at the bar after a workout.
His hair was a little longer than a “Business man’s cut”.
Then, one Saturday he walked in with his head shaved.
She could not keep her eyes off him during her workout.
There was something about him she had not noticed before.
For some reason his brown eyes stood out more, his body was more pronounced.
She was not the only one to notice the change.
After the workout she asked him to join her in a snack and a little talk about their pasted week.
He smiled and said, “Give me fifteen.”
And, headed to the men’s shower.
She headed to the ladies shower.
There one of her new friends asked her, “You seem to take a shining to Roger’s shining!”
Beth blushed a little, “Yes. It was a shock to see him with a shaved head.
“We are meeting for a snack …..
“Want to join us.
Her friend smiled, raising her left hand up, “Thanks, but I have to met my hubby at work then home and start lunch for the children”.
“Anyway, two is nice …..
“Three is a crowd.”
Beth dried off body then dried her hair as best she could. Still damp she wrapped it in another towel, as she always did, and headed to the snack bar.
Roger had just taken a seat and ordered two banana strawberry smoothies, one for each of them.
As she took her seat her eyes were on his shaved head.
Taking a sip of her drink she looked at his face and head.
Then, without thinking she raised her right hand to his head and slowly moved it from the forehead back.
“WOW, “ she said without thinking, “It feels smooth.”
She got a strange feeling in her body.
“Shaved before coming out the showers,” Roger answered.
“What do you think?
“I have not shaved in a few years.”
Her throat became dry. She tried to swallow but could not.
Her mine begin to wonder what he meant.
“What do you mean,” she asked him as her body began to shiver.
She reached to his head and let her finger tips brush back over his head, as her body shivered again.
“It goes back to my freshmen year in high school,” he began as he took a sip of his drink.
“If it was your first year of playing sports.
“The freshman boys had their head shaved, by one of the cheerleaders, and you had to keep it shaved for the season.
“I like it and kept it shaved until I graduated. I let it grow out for my mom for graduation night.
“Then, my first year of college …..
“mid term at that …..
“I started shaving my head again.
“But, let it grow when I got out in the “World of business”.
“When short hair came back into fashion for men, I started seeing men with shaved heads ……
“Well, my barber was all to well in helping me.
“That, was six years back.
“I let it grow out last summer …..
“Why I do not know, but I did.
“Then, this morning when I went to the barber for a hair cut I saw two little boys getting their head shaved, there mom was sitting there watching.
“I decided then …..
“When I got in the chair I just told my barber, “SHAVE my head” and she did not waste any time.”
“A woman barber!” Beth inquired surprisingly. “Never heard of a woman being a barber.
“Of course, where I am from they are still getting use to high speed computers.”
After a few more minutes of talking about their past week, they went their way.
It was the last time she saw Roger because his company transferred him to the West Coast.
A transferred she had heard, around the gym, he had been asking for because it was close to his hometown.
But, this last meeting and talk did something to her.
Her body shivered when she thought of it.
Her body shivered when she looked at her body after a shower.
Her body shivered when she combed her hair after shampooing it.
Sometimes she woke in the middle of the night, her body shivering from a dream with unclear people in it.
She would lay awake thinking about the dream, trying to see the people in it and what were they doing, saying,
At work when one of the men walked by she would look at how his hair was cut.
She would wonder what they would look like with their head shaved.
She looked with interest at the women who had short hair, always noticing when it was freshly cut.
Wondering how they felt when their hair was cut.
Wondering why they cut their hair.
One day she found her self, asking a few of the men where they got their hair cut.
One night she was out with some of her friends. They had dinner and stopped by a local dance club for a few drinks and some dancing.
As they entered the club she noticed the doorman had a shaven head, which had her stopping in her tracks and staring at his head.
She wanted, ‘o’ she wanted’, to reach up and brush her fingertips over his head but was pulled by the arm by one of the others.
She noticed the two waitresses who had short hair.
She noticed the men, the women, who had short hair.
She noticed the men talking to the women with short hair, how they reacted.
After three hours of dancing and a few drink they started to leave.
Just as she walked out the dressing room her eyes caught a woman walking passed her.
Her eyes, her mine, did not believe what she saw.
The woman had all her hair cut off.
Beth stopped and her body shivered, as her pause speeded up.
She blinked her eyes, turned and looked as she entered the dressing room.
Her friends were waiting for her at the door.
As she approached they she looked back towards the dressing room and saw the woman coming out. She watched as she walked to one of the bars and took a seat.
Beth’s mine went crazy, asking questions after question.
“Ya’ll go ahead,” she told them.
“Tomorrow is Saturday.
“So, I think I will stay a little longer and relax with another drink.”
Her friends gave her a kiss on the cheek and head home.
Beth turned toward the bar she had seen the women sit at, but she was not there.
She begin looking around as one of the waitress, with short hair, asked her if she wanted a table.
Beth hesitated and looked around for the woman, then saw her sitting at one of the other bars.
“No, thank you,” she told the waitress and walked to the bar the woman was sitting.
There were three open chairs next to her. Beth sat two chairs from her.
As she sat she ordered a drink then looked in the mirror at the woman.
She could not believe how short her hair was cut.
She wondered how long her hair was before she cut it all off at this length.
She wondered why she cut her hair so short.
How did she fell while it being cut so short!
WHY did she cut her hair so short!
Beth sat there sipping her drink then looking at the woman in the mirror.
She sat as other women stop and chatted with her, she watched men stop and kiss her.
But, none of them touched her head, nor commented about her hair cut.
Beth’s mine was wondering, her body shivered ever so often.
“Want another,” a female voice asked. She looked up to see one of the female bartends standing, smiling.
“Yes,” she replied.
When she glanced in the mirror she saw the woman, who she had been watching, wondering about, had walked away. She turned looking for her.
Then, she saw her pushing the dressing room door open.
Beth took a deep breath and being to wonder.
When her drink was brought to her, she asked the bartender to watch it for so she could go to the dressing room.
She put a straw over the top of the glass, “This will do it.”
Beth got up and walked toward the dressing room, her mine wondering what she would say if the woman said anything to her.
As she entered the dressing room the woman was fixing her make-up, she looked up in the mirror and saw Beth then turned her head towards her and smiled.
Beth smiled back, her throat dry.
She walked to one of the stalls and stepped in, where she stood for a few minutes taking a few deep breaths as her mine clouded her head.
She could not think, she could not move.
Then, she heard other female voices.
She stepped out the stall and noticed the woman was no longer in there dressing room.
Beth quickly washed and dried her hands then walked out the dressing room.
When she got to the dance floor she begin looking for the woman but did not see her any where.
She felt disappointed and walked back to the bar to finish her drink and go home.
She sat there slowly drinking her drink, her mine wondering if she would have said anything to the woman.
If she was still around!
“Mine was not quite as long as yours’,” a female voice said as she felt her hair being pulled back off her shoulders.
Beth looked up in the mirror to see the female voice was the woman she had been watching and wondering about.
Beth sat up, smiled, and tried to say something.
“May I,” the woman asked as she pointed to the chair next to Beth.
Beth knotted “yes” and she took the seat.
“My name is Samantha,” she told Beth.
“But, my friends call me Sam, for short.”
“Beth,” Beth replied.
Sam leaned over and gave Beth a kiss on the cheek, “I have a cousin named Beth.
“It’s not short for any thing …..
“Yours’ short for Bethany ….?”.
“NO ….. Just Beth,” she replied.
“So, you have been wondering about the hair cut,” Sam asked her with a wicked look on her face and a smile.
“I noticed you when I first went into the dressing room, then when you sat at the bar.
“But, when you came into the dressing room a few minutes ago and stood there. I knew you were looked at my hair cut.
“Never seen a woman with a number one cut …..
“No, not really,” Beth answered. “The shortest I have seen a woman’s hair cut is a Bob.
“Many of the girls I went to high school and college with had a Bob.”
“I know a little restaurant a few blocks from here.
“How about we go get a cup of coffee and talk,” Sam recommended.
“Just a sec,” Sam said as she stood up then stepped behind Beth.
She pulled Beth’s hair tightly back off her face.
“Yep,” she said as she moved Beth’s head side to side.
“What,” Beth inquired!
Sam let her hair go and patted her on the right shoulder, “Let’s get out of here.”
They walked out the club and headed toward the restaurant Sam knew.
As they entered the restaurant Sam said “hi” to one of the waitresses and said “two coffees” as they walked to a booth in the back.
Waiting for their coffee Beth asked Sam, “What was the “yep” about?”
The coffee came and Sam introduced the waitress to Beth, “This is my little sister, Debra ……
“Deb is this Beth.
“We just met at the club.
“So, if she comes in treat her nicely.”
Debra smiled, brushed her right hand over Sam’s head, “Got ya sis and the coffee.”
Taking a sip Sam looked at Beth.
“Yes and you would,” she told Beth.
Beth looked puzzled, “What do you mean?”
“Your hair,” Sam replied. “You should cut it short.”
Beth grabbed hand full of hair and held it.
“I know. You only trimmed the ends,” Sam began, “You never thought of cutting it short.
“And, if you did you went crazy at the thought.
“And, if anyone said anything to about cutting it short, your gave them a “stare” which told them they were crazy.
Beth knotted “yes” as she lowered her head.
“Then, you saw me tonight,” Sam continued.
Again Beth knotted her head “yes’.
“I when through it all, too,” Sam told her.
“Then, one day, just like you, I saw a woman with short hair, shorter than I had ever seen on a woman.
“But, not this short.
“Just almost like a hair cut little boys’ get.
“I could not keep my eyes off her, I even wondered where she lived, where she worked, so I could …..
“Well, just wonder pass and hope to see her.
“I did after a few months.
“I was having lunch at a little out door restaurant and across the street was a barber shop and she came walking out.
“She crossed the street and walked towards the restaurant and sat two tables from me.
“And, I sat there, slowly eating and drinking, looking at her.
“When she finished eating she paid, got up, she turned to me and smiled and winked.
“Just like we did tonight. I met her and we talked.
“A few months later I found my self walking in to that little barber shop.
“When I entered the shop I knew who her barber was ……
“A woman who had the same hair cut I have.
“I did not walk out with the cut, it came about over a year or so.
“Do I regret it ……
“I regret not doing it years ago.”
Beth sat just listening to Sam talk, not saying a word.
Not asking a question.
Sam finished her coffee, got up, gave Beth a kiss on the cheek, put a note next to her cup, and went her way.
Beth sat there. She did not turn to see where Beth went.
She took a deep breath and put the note in her purse without looking at it.
Then, she finished her coffee, left Deb a tip, and left for home.
Over the next few months Beth looked at the note sitting in her purse each time she opened purse.
She wondered what was on the note.
Then, one day she took the note out and read it.
On it was just an address, nothing more.
No name, no telephone number, not even a message.
She quickly shoved it back in to her purse and covered it up with things in her purse.
The next month she got a promotion to shipping manager, a promotion she did not expected.
There were others who were more qualified and been with the company loner than her.
None of them said a thing when she was named the new shipping manager.
She would have her own office but her hours would be the same. Only she would be making over-time and would get extra days off sometimes instead of the over-time.
Days she could use the time for an extra vacation or just for a few days off.
She accumulated almost a month by the time spring came around. She also accumulated a lot of over-time, which she set aside for a vacation with the extra days.
Her scheduled vacation was not until mid August for two weeks. She had planned on going on a cruse for a few days then a short trip home to visit family and friends.
But, the spring weather was all but cool. It was more like summers she remembered as a child.
Hot and dry.
So, she decided a few days, maybe two weeks, off would be good. She could spend some of the time in the gym’s new outdoor swimming pool.
Maybe a day or two at the lake!
She looked things over at work and saw nothing much happening in April, it was always the slowest month.
Not a lot of shipments going out, nor coming in.
They did inventory in April and she did not have to be there, as an outside company, who specialized in inventorying was contracted to do the inventory each year.
All she and her staff did was relax. Maybe shipping out a few things but nothing went out.
So, she asked her boss if she could take off two week in the middle of April.
“Sounds great,” he told her. “If it were not inventory time I think I would join you, specially this year with all this hot spring weather.
“O’ ….. When you get back I might have you cover for Jane for a week, she starts maternity leave the third week of April”.
“I forgot about her leave,” Beth answered. “Maybe I should move my start day back a week?”
“NO,” he said. “I can use the time getting use to the computer system we put in for her department. You go ahead with your plans.
“Just let Marc know he’s going to fill in for you,” her boss said.
“Have you made any special plans?”
“I will let Marc know and make sure every thing is up to date Friday,” Beth told him.
“No, I have no plans.
“I just thinking about a few days in the new outdoor pool at the gym and maybe a weekend cruse ……
“Other than that I’ll be home rest