The Choice


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     Becca strode into the living room after her shower to find her husband, Hal, sitting quietly and reading the newspaper. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that a dining-room chair had been moved away from the table. The long bib she used for her bangs trims, before she started growing out her bangs, was draped over the back of the chair. On the table lay scissors, comb, makeup brush, electric clippers, bobby pins, and a spray bottle.
     Hal folded and put down the newspaper he’d been reading. “Have a seat. I’m cutting your bangs.”
     “Excuse me?” replied Becca.
     “I said I’m cutting your bangs. After what happened yesterday, I have decided that this is the best course of action.”
     “What are you talking about?”
     “Is that selective memory kicking in again? You nearly drove us off the road because you said your hair got in your eyes. And I said that this was the last time something like that would happen. Remember?”
     “Yeah, I remember, but I didn’t know what you meant.”
     “Well, now you know.”
     “I’m growing out my bangs. You know that.”
     “Yes, that’s what you keep saying. But you don’t style them, pin them back, or do anything that will keep them out of your eyes. Now it’s at the point where you’re endangering yourself and others. I can just see you having an accident, hurting someone, or our insurance going through the roof. It’s ridiculous. So sit down and let me do what needs to be done.”
     “I don’t see why this is necessary. You’re so silly. I’ll just go and pin them back or something.”
     “No, Becca. I said I’m cutting your bangs, and that’s final.”
     “Wow, Mr. Forceful. You’re such a hoot.”
     “I’m serious. Either I cut your bangs or seize your car keys. The choice is yours.”
     “As if you would ever do that.”
     Hal reached into his pocket and took out Becca’s car keys, including any and all copies they had ever made. “I took them while you were in the shower.”
     “How dare you!” Becca yelled.
     “And how dare you be so careless with a car and people’s lives. You’re like a drunk driver, only you don’t drive drunk, you drive disheveled. So what’ll it be?”
     “You know I have to drive to work.”
     “So the decision is simple, isn’t it? You’ll get your keys back after the haircut is complete.”
     “But-“
     “The only butt I’m concerned about is the one that’s going to sit in this chair. I’m cutting your bangs and cutting them short so that we don’t have to go through this again soon.”
     As the argument had progressed, Hal had scrounged around in the kitchen drawers, looking for an apron to wear as he cut Becca’s bangs. The first one he found was one that Becca’s grandmother had made, a pinafore-style garment, complete with ruffles at the shoulders, a full, gathered skirt, and a wide sash attached to two long apron strings. “What the heck”, he thought. “It’s just for a few minutes. This haircut won’t take long.” He donned the ridiculous apron and waited for Becca to cooperate.
     Becca sat without another word. Hal began combing her long hair and separating it from the bangs. He pinned the sides back with the bobby pins. Her hair was still a bit damp from the shower, so it was the perfect time to cut it. He took the bib from the back of the chair and tied it snugly around her neck with the long string ties. He combed her bangs straight down a few times. They were ridiculously long and shaggy, covering her eyes. The ends of the bangs were uneven and split. She took such good care of the rest of her hair, but the bangs were a hot mess. He picked up the shears and placed them about an inch above her eyebrows, over halfway up her forehead, and began cutting. Hair fell in little chunks from her forehead and landed on her face and in her lap. Hal swept her face with the soft makeup brush as he continued cutting. He worked from the middle of her forehead out to her temple, cutting in a very straight and blunt line. On the other side, he cut from the temple to the middle. He combed through them again and admired his work. They looked so much better, but he knew that Becca would not appreciate the fine job he had done. She still sat silently, fuming and indignant. Hal put down the shears and reached for the clippers. He buzzed her temples, even further shortening her bangs at the temples to form a slight Bettie Page cut. She looked so nice and neat.
     “Now you look presentable and ready to drive responsibly”, Hal said. He finished brushing off her face and removed the bib.
     Becca immediately made a beeline for the bathroom to inspect her haircut in the mirror. “You didn’t have to cut them so freaking short”, she complained.
     “I told you I was cutting them short, and I meant it. I think you look cute, sexy even.” He handed her the car keys. “A deal’s a deal. Here you go.”
     Becca stormed out of the room, too angry to drive and further incur the wrath of her crazy husband. “I’ll get him”, she thought. She went back into the bedroom and got her phone. She returned to the dining room where Hal was cleaning up from the haircut, still wearing the apron. She seized the opportunity for a great photo before Hal turned around. She got a shot of him from the back, with his big, puffy bow still tied at the back of his waist. When he heard Becca, he turned around. She got a second shot of him clad in his ruffles and skirt. “This will look great on Facebook”, she threatened.

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