Beth Was A Lonely Girl

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Story by: Beth & The Shopkeeper

 

Beth was happier than she had been in month’s.  Stacy, her best friend and former college roommate was visiting her for a couple weeks to keep her company.  Beth had always been a bit of a loner, until she went away to college and met her new roommate.  Neither one of them was really in to anything other than their schoolwork during their time together, so if there was somewhere to go, or they wanted to get some takeout, it was always the two of them together.

Beth had been convinced into following in her mother and grandmothers footsteps and became an Education major while Stacy was going for a degree in psychology.  Once they graduated they went their separate ways, but for the 4 years since they graduated Stacy would always come and visit.  When she graduated Beth had a guaranteed teaching position in the rural school district where her grandmother had taught and lived.  It had been planned that Beth would take over her grandmother’s class when she retired after 50 years of teaching.  The money wasn’t that much, but she was excited to be able to live with her grandmother, who she loved and always missed.

The worst part for Beth was that after living together for a little more than a year, her grandmother caught a severe case of Covid, which ended up taking her life.  Seeing as she found it so hard to make friends, plus being in such a small community, only made her feel more lonely.  Stacy would visit every summer, and call her at least a couple times each week, but for Beth being alone was taking it’s toll on her.

When her grandmother passed away, Beth was surprised that she had left her house to her.  Though it was they way it was written in that dwelled on her.  Her grandmother had written that she left it to her so she too would be able to stay teaching her class for the next 50 years like she did.  For Beth it felt like she was now obligated to stay in her grandmother’s house for the rest of her life.

When Stacy arrived she could tell right away that Beth had been struggling with her grandmother’s death.  While in the times when she had visited before she slept on the couch, she thought that with 2 bedrooms she would, at least have a bed to sleep in this trip.  To her surprise, Beth was still sleeping in the smaller bedroom and was keeping her grandmother’s room untouched.  Stacy immediately went to work, insisting to her that she wasn’t going to sleep on the couch again, and that she needed to move forwards if she was going to keep living here.  Reluctantly, Beth said she would sleep in her grandmothers room while Stacy was  there.

When Stacy went to move her bags into Beth’s room, she noticed a dress hanging in Beth’s closet.  This wasn’t a dress that a girl in her 20’s would wear, so Stacy quickly assumed that it was one of her grandmother’s…”Hey Beth, what’s this dress in your closet?”  Beth felt totally embarrassed to answer, because she liked to put the dress on during the times she felt alone.  It somehow made her feel like her grandmother was, at least a little bit with her….”I needed a dress to wear because I thought about starting to go to church.”  Stacy knew that Beth wasn’t religious at all, so was starting to feel like there was much more to her story.

The next morning Stacy was going to get in the shower and asked Beth for a towel….”They’re in the hall closet.  Help yourself to anything in there.”  When Stacy opened the door, a strong odor hit in the face.  Sitting on a shelf, right at eye level, was a box that had been opened.  She saw the label “Ogilvie Home Perm”.  At first Stacy thought it must be left from Beth’s grandmother, but while she waited for the water to get hot, she thought about the perm in the closet.  Beth’s grandmother couldn’t have given herself a perm, so Stacy was beginning to think it was there for some other reason.

Once Stacy dried off she went to the kitchen to get some coffee.  She decided to bring the perm up to Beth…”You know that perm in the closet is making everything in the closet smell.”  Beth looked down, embarrassed that her secret might be out…”I know, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw it out.”  Stacy could tell there was more to the story because she knows that Beth could never lie to her without her knowing…”Come on Beth, I know there’s some other reason you have that in there.”

Beth looked right at Stacy, her eyes red and watery…”It reminds me of my grandmother, so I like the smell when I open the door.”  Stacy knew there was more to Beth’s story, but instead of asking her again she just looked straight at her.  A minute later, Beth finally admitted that she missed her gram so much that she bought the perm online because the smell always reminded her of her.  Then Stacy went for the full answer…”And the dress hanging in your room?”  Beth admitted that when she felt really lonely she would put the dress on.

The two of them made the 20 mile drive to the grocery store, and on the ride back Stacy noticed at one of the few buildings at the tiny crossroads where Beth lived was an old fashioned beauty parlor.  It looked like it had been there for 50 years and had never changed since it opened.  Stacy got an idea and made sure to secretly put the number of the place in her phone.  Once they got back to the house Beth went to put everything away and make lunch.  Stacy made an excuse about wanting to change her shirt, then went to the bedroom and called the beauty parlor.  She explained to the woman that her friend Beth wanted to get a perm like her grandmother used to get, but was too nervous to make the appointment.  The beautician asked her name and once Stacy told her it was Beth Weaver the woman seemed to get excited…”Oh, that must be Margret’s granddaughter.  I did her hair for years so I know exactly what she will want.”  A few minutes later all the details had been worked out.  All Stacy needed to do was get Beth in the car the next morning.

Stacy had it all planned out.  After 4 years of living together she knew that Beth slept like rock and nothing would wake her up once she fell asleep for the night.  She quietly grabbed a handful of plastic trash bags from the kitchen and started to empty the drawers of Beth’s dresser.  While Beth always dressed pretty conservatively Stacy didn’t leave anything in the drawers.  The closet was next, and like the dresser everything was bagged, except for the one dress that was Beth’s grandmothers.  When she was finished all the bags were taken out to her car and put in the trunk (boot).  Stacy went back to bed hoping to get a few hours of sleep before Beth woke up.

It was around 7:30 when Beth got up, surprised that Stacy was still in bed.  She took her morning shower while the coffee brewed and was even more surprised when Stacy wasn’t already sitting at the table, cup in hand.  In all there years of living together Beth couldn’t remember more than a few times Stacy was the last one up.  He coffee finished, Beth decides to slide quietly into her room to grab her clothes for the day.

Stacy laid quietly awake as she heard Beth walk in the room, then hears Beth opening her top drawer.  Beth looks down expecting to grab the pair of panties right on top, but was surprised to see unfamiliar panties in her drawer…”What the hell…”  She pulled the next drawer down only to find what she recognized as Stacy’s clothes…”Stacy, wake up!” She said, loud enough to ensure her friend was awake.  “What’s up Beth?”  Beth didn’t believe her friends innocent look…”Why did you take over my dresser and where’s my stuff?”  Stacy wiped the sleep out of her eyes first…”That’s my dresser.  Yours is in your bedroom.”

Beth stared in confusion at her…”Stacy, come on.  It’s not funny anymore.”  Of course Stacy was ready for whatever Beth said to her…”Beth honey, this is my room.  You slept in yours.”  Beth was getting somewhat frustrated…”I know, it’s your bedroom for the next 2 weeks, but this is my room.  Where are all my clothes?”  Stacy made her final play…”Beth, all your clothes are in your room.  Now go and get dressed because I want to go out this morning.”  Beth didn’t know how to respond and certainly didn’t want to get in a fight, so she went to her grandmother’s room and started looking for an outfit to wear.

In the month’s since her grandmother had passed away, Beth barely went into her room, and because she was always told as a child that her grandmother’s things were off limits, she never went into her dresser.  Now she found herself standing with the top drawer opened and looking at her grandmother’s most private of clothes.  She was so nervous about rummaging thru the drawer that she never heard Stacy walk in the room…”See, you have plenty of clothes.”  Beth still felt uncomfortable in the dresser…”Stace, this are my grandmother’s”, but Stacy  just pushed on…”Would you rather I picked an outfit from your new clothes?”  Still confused by what’s going on, Beth shook her head and stepped aside.

Stacy already had an idea on how she wanted Beth to be dressed.  She laid out on the bed a bra and panties, half length slip all basic white.  She went to the closet next and pulled out a knee length skirt in blue with a slight pattern on it, and a white button down shirt.  Beth stood and looked at what was before her, trying to figure out what exactly Stacy was doing.  Stacy was getting impatient and reached for Beth’s t-shirt, with Beth lifting her hands up as Stacy pulled it over her head.   Neither of them were shy about being naked around the other, having been that way hundreds of times in college, but Beth still stood there motionless…”Beth, snap out of it and put your clothes on.”  Stacy barked at her.  Beth hesitated…”Stace, these are..”  Stacy cut her off…””Your clothes.  These are all your clothes now Beth, so get used to wearing them everyday.”  Beth was now even more confused…”Where are my clothes Stace?”  Her friend make it finally clear to her…”All the ones from the other room are gone now.  They’re not coming back.”

Beth reluctantly started to get dressed, surprised at just how much she liked how she felt in the foreign clothing.  Stacy had gone to get herself ready, ending with a trip to the bathroom mirror to put on some light make-up.  Beth poked her head in the door…”Stace, what did you do with my make-up bag?”  Stacy had, of course, taken all of her make-up away….”I saw some real nice stuff in your room.”  Beth knew she was referring to her grandmother’s make-up and perfumes that were at her vanity table….”Stacy, those aren’t really what I wear.”  Stacy made it clear to her…”It will look great on you, now go and finish up so we can go out.” Beth decided that today was the day to go out without makeup, something her grandmother and many others her and Beth’s mothers generation did on the regular, however Beth did not do this, so was reasonably quite nervous.

As they walked out to the car, Stacy looked at her friend with approval…”Beth, you’ve never looked better.”  Beth still felt weird being dressed like she was going to church, or a funeral…”Do you really think so Stace?”  Stacy had the perfect opening for where they were headed…”Your outfit looks beautiful on you.  I just think you need to have something done with your hair.  It doesn’t look right.”  Beth tried to look at her reflection in the cars glass.  She was embarrassed to tell her friend that she had been getting her hair trimmed every few month’s at the chain salon that was inside the Walmart that she traveled to…”I just had it trimmed a month ago.”  Stacy knew from when they were in college that Beth always went to the cheapest places to have her hair cut…”It looks like something you’d get at Walmart.”  Beth turned a bit red as they both got in the car.

Beth still didn’t know where Stacy wanted to go as they pulled out.  Stacy was very coy about her plans…”Maybe we could see if the salon in town could fix your hair a little bit.”  It took Beth a minute to figure out where Stacy was talking about…”That little place down the road?  That used to be run by a little old lady.  I doubt it even open anymore.”  Stacy, of course knew it was open and they were expecting Beth’s arrival in a few minutes…”Well, lets ride by and see if they can fit you in.  It’s always good to support local businesses.”  Beth was surprised that her friend had even noticed the place, and what surprised her more was that she wasn’t telling Stacy that she wasn’t interested in going these.  She assumed that it had closed like most the other places around it.

As Stacy turned the corner Beth immediately noticed that the light were on where the beauty parlor was…”I can’t believe the place is still here.  That woman must be in her 80″s by now.”  Stacy pulled up tight in front, and quickly got out before Beth could think about it anymore….”Come on, lets go.”  as she pulled Beth’s arm heading for the door.  The place seemed empty as they walked inside.  They both took in the surroundings of the place from the past.  Just then, a woman who was around their parents age walks out of the back…”Hello girls, I’m Mary.  What can I do for you?”  Before Beth could speak, Stacy chimed in…”My friend Beth here needs something new.  She is a teacher, so she doesn’t want to look like a school girl anymore.”

The woman’s eye lit up…”Oh, you’re Margret’s granddaughter aren’t you?  I should have noticed it was you right away”  Beth, taken aback by someone knowing who she was answered..”Yes, that’s me.  I took over my grandmother’s class.”  Mary was even more happy…”Oh good, so you’re a local now?”  Beth told her that she lived in her grandmother’s house.  Mary, who was always pretty forward with people….”That’s wonderful.  It looks like I have a new customer from now on.”  Mary knew from her conversation with Stacy, that Beth was to shy to ask for any type of change, so she should be the one who pushes her towards the end goal…

“My mother ran the shop before me, and she did Margret’s hair for close to 40 years before I took over the business.”    Mary  turned the chair, inviting Beth to take a seat…”It looks like you need a change in style.  If you trust me I can give you a new look you’ll keep for years.”  Beth hadn’t expected to be making any decisions about her hair style today and she looked across the room at Stacy.  Of course Stacy was shaking her head…”Go on Beth.  You’re in a total hair rut and it’s time for something new.”  Beth couldn’t disagree with her friend, so she nervously told Mary she could do what she wanted…”What are you going to do?”  Mary swung the cape around her head…”Let me get you started before you change your mind. And may I say it’s good to see a girl use soap and water instead of a full face of slap! Makes them look flighty.”

Mary gave Stacy a wink as she lowered Beth’s seat back to the sink.  Beth had always only gone to the cheap chain salons, who would just wet her hair with a spray bottle before trimming the ends, so this made her feel like she was being treated like a princess.  Right away she was starting to feel like she would make this a regular appointment.  A towel wrapped around her head, the seat was brought back to the upright position.  After a vigorous rubbing with the towel, Mary took a wide comb and began to comb thru Beth’s long locks.  After a primary comb thru, she switched to a finer comb, leaving Beth’s hair nice and sleek all the way thru.

Mary picked up her scissors, but she decided to take the hair towards the front short in multiple cuts so she didn’t get Beth all upset.  She cut of about 4″ of hair each time, which was already setting off alarm bells for Beth, but the trick had worked because Beth hadn’t noticed that the hair closest to the front of her head was now extremely short and the back would all be coming off in big lengths.  Stacy was starting to feel a touch of guilt as she saw her friends head beginning to look much smaller without all the hair she walked in with, but she smiled at Beth and gave her a thumbs up as Mary continued to cut her hair even shorter.

“Alright honey I’m going to put some curls in your hair so it has some style to it.”  Beth was trying to take in exactly what Mary was saying to her.  Looking again at Stacy, she figured that Mary was going to use a curling iron on her long locks and really hoped that whatever Mary did would help to get her out of the rut she was in.  Mary then began to comb her hair into sections, clipping each one out of the way of the others.  While Stacy knew what was happening to her, Beth just thought that this was the way professionals would get such great results when they curled a clients hair.

Beth became instantly confused by how much pull she felt as Mary wound the first rod. As she fastened it in place the smile on Stacy’s face grew wider, so Beth was assured that everything was okay.  As Mary quickly added more rods, the top of Beth’s hair was filling up fast.  Beth, by now had assumed that Mary was using curlers like she had seen some older ladies use before.  She thought about how much work girls had to do before curling irons became so popular.  As Mary placed the last rod on the top of her head, Beth decided to ask…”Do curlers actually work better than a curling iron does?”  Mary wasn’t about to lie to her client…”You do get a longer lasting curl with curlers, but these are rods not curlers dear, so these will help make your curls last the longest.”  Stacy still had a big smile on her face as Beth again looked to her for assurance.  Still having full confidence in Mary’s skills, she relaxed as Mary moved on to the next section.

Everything seemed to be moving quickly for Beth, but when she finally noticed the clock on the wall she realized she had been in the chair for close to 2 hours. It was the first time she felt something was strange, but Stacy still looked happy, so there was no reason for her to panic.  Just then the door of the shop opened and a young girl walked in…”I got all the supplies you wanted from the beauty supply mom.  Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had any appointments this morning.”  The girl didn’t recognize Stacy, but as she looked towards the chair, a familiar face was sitting there…”Miss Weaver, is that really you?  You’re certainly going for a major change.”

Beth recognized the girl from the office at the school…”Oh hi Helen, how have you been?”  Mary still hadn’t told Beth what style she was about to receive, so she rushed Helen out of the room…”Thanks for picking up my order.  Why don’t you go and put it all on the shelves in the back room.”  Helen disappeared into the back room as Mary was finishing winding the last of the rods on Beth’s head.  As she turned towards the counter, she saw Beth start to turn her head, trying to get a look at what had been done so far…”Eyes front young lady.”  Beth turned her head back towards Stacy, who looked a like different to her now.

Mary wiped some Vaseline around the edges of her hairline before pushing some coiled cotton against the edge of the rods.  Stacy was starting to feel really nervous now about what she was putting her friend thru.  While she had never seen a perm done before she had guessed that there was no turning back after what Mary was going to do next.  Beth sat still as she waited for Mary to finish up.  Helen had finished putting everything away and came and sat by Stacy to watch her mom finish up curling Beth’s hair.

Mary snipped the tip off one of the bigger bottles from the kit she had planned on using.  She then poured the liquid from a small battle into the bigger one and shook it as she turned towards the chair…”Okay dear, this will be cold at first, but then it will feel nice and warm.”  Beth, still not sure on what was happening just told her…”Okay, I’m ready.”  Mary then began to soak the rods.  Starting at the crown, as she worked her way forward Beth started to smell something that was very familiar to her…”Ummm Mary, is that a perm I’m smelling?”  The secret was out and Mary had to let Beth in on what she had done to her…”Yes it is dear.  Your hair was completely lifeless, and when I saw you come in dressed just like Margret used to look I knew exactly what to do.”  Stacy was relieved that Mary hadn’t told Beth that it was her than planned the whole thing and give her friend a thumbs up as Beth looked at her now biting her lip.

As she felt her head quickly becoming warm, Beth was now both excited and in panic mode.  Nobody her age had curly hair and now she figured she would be stuck with it for at least a month or two.  She calmed down as she thought that she could always use her straightener on it if she wanted to go out somewhere, and leave it curly on days she stayed at home.  With almost 2 months until the school year started she assumed she would be back to her old style in time for classes to start.

As they waited for Beth’s hair to finish, Helen started to tell her mom about her search for a place to stay…”I only have a week longer on my lease and there’s no place to rent around here that I could afford.”  Mary told her daughter that if she couldn’t find anything she could move back into her old bedroom, but Helen couldn’t think of anything worse…”Mom, I’m 26 years old.  I can’t go back to having a curfew.”  Stacy took notice of Helen’s problems and instantly knew the perfect solution…”Beth, you’re going to have an extra room.  I’m sure Helen would love to keep you company.”  Before Beth could answer, the timer went off and Mary was laying the seat back towards the sink again.

As Mary started to rinse Beth’s hair, Stacy slid into the seat next to Helen…”I’ll help you get that room, but I need you to do something for me.  Okay?”  Helen became excited that she wouldn’t have to move back into her childhood bedroom…”I’ll do just about anything to get that room.”  Stacy then told her that she would have to promise to make sure that Beth comes to her mom’s shop on a regular basis and more importantly she never lets her borrow any of her clothes…”She has plenty of clothes in her room to wear, so no going out and buying new stuff either.”  Helen told her that wouldn’t be a problem…”I’m sure my mother will insist that she comes in every few weeks, and I hardly have any clothes, so that certainly won’t be a problem.”  Stacy had heard enough…”I’m there until this Friday, so after that the room is all yours”

The seat was lifted to its upright position and as the towel was removed from her head, Beth saw that Helen and Stacy were now sitting together, chatting away.  She knew that she was the subject of their conversation and that she more than likely had a new roommate.  Mary, by then, was back at Beth’s side with a different bottle in her hand…”After the warm one last time, this is going to feel really cold.”  Beth felt a shiver go thru her arms as the neutralizer hit her scalp, and waited for Mary to put the plastic cap back over her head, but instead Mary gave her some good news…”Just 5 minutes this time, then a final rinse.”  She again looked across at Stacy and Helen who looked like they were becoming fast friends.

Turning her attention back to what was happening to her, she just started to ask Mary if her hair would still reach her shoulders, but instead of answering Mary lowered the chair back again…”Okay dear last time.”  Beth couldn’t believe how great the warm water felt on her head.  All too quickly the water was stopped and Mary was blotting the rods dry with a towel again.  Mary then began to unwind the rods and dropping them in the sink.  Facing away from the mirror was still unnerving to her, however, but the release of the rollers that were tightly wound on her scalp took her mind off that. A sigh of relief was let out as the last of the pressure was released and Mary dropped the last rod into the sink.  Beth could see both Stacy and Helen starring at her head.

She could only imagine the worst when Mary started to pick thru her hair…”What a difference a head of healthy young hair makes.  This has taken much better than I had hoped it would.”  To Beth that meant it must be curlier than it should be, but she always liked when girls had a nice curly style.  She had still not seen how short it was before Mary had rolled it, but hoped it was still fairly long.  However the look from the girls across from her and the fact that she couldn’t feel her hair touching her ears was starting to make her a little worried.

Mary then pulled the cape off of her…So Miss Weaver are you ready to see the new you?”  Just then Stacy and Helen both got up and came closer to the chair.  Stacy’s eye were red and watery as she felt a large amount of guilt over what she had done to her best friend.  With watery eyes she looked at her friend…”Beth, you look absolutely beautiful.”  Beth was totally worried now, and looked at Mary, waiting for her to turn the chair towards the mirror.

As the chair slowly made the turn, Beth thought she was looking at one of her grandmother’s friends.  Her hair was far shorter and curlier than she could ever have imagined…”You cut off all my hair.”  Stacy was crying now…”Please don’t be upset with me.  I told Mary how to do your hair.  I just did what I thought was best for you.”  Beth reached up, almost afraid to touch the curls hugging her head…”My grandmother used to have her hair like this when she was younger.”  Mary grabbed a can of lacquer hair spray…”Yes she did.  I remember when I was younger my mother would give her the same perm as I just gave you.”  Beth stood up and Stacy was quick to give her a hug before they headed for the door.

A few days later and Beth was still getting used to her new style.  Mary had told her that she couldn’t wash her hair for a full week. so every morning before she got in the shower, Stacy would make sure she put on the shower cap that she had bought for her, then as she stepped towards the shower she would look over at her reflection in the mirror. Thankfully the image made her smile as she remembered her grandmother wearing one similar to it.

By the following Friday Helen was at Beth’s house with the few things that she owned…”My last roommate left with all the furniture we had in our place, so at least it made moving easy.”  Beth and Stacy had planned on helping her move in, but she had all her stuff in one trip.  Stacy looked at Beth and smiled…”I’ve got a great idea.”  Beth looked confused at first as Stacy took Helen out to her car.

A few minutes later they were walking back in the house, both of them with a bag in each hand.  As Stacy walked by Beth she got the biggest smirk on her face…”I guess I don’t have to stop at the clothing drop box on the way home.”  Beth walked into Helen’s room and saw how Happy she was as she was pulling her old clothes out of the bags.  She looked back at Stacy and shook her head, knowing what Stacy had done, and even though her clothes were gone now she couldn’t be happier.

Stacy went in to help Helen as Beth went to make dinner for all of them.  When it was ready she called them to the table, and as Helen went to sit down, she pulled a card out of her pocket…”You left before my mom gave this to you.”  Beth looked at the card.  It was an appointment with Mary in 3 weeks…”She made it the same day as my appointment so we can go together.”  Stacy was overjoyed when Beth put the card on the refrigerator.  She then jokingly said…”So, when I come back next time are you two going to look like twins?”  She didn’t expect it when Helen said…”I’m sure my mother is considering it and as good as Beth looks, I just might have to say yes.”

 

 

 

 

4 responses to “Beth Was A Lonely Girl

  1. Lovely story. Thanks for sharing. I hope we see a sequel with Helen getting the hairstyle her mother has always wanted for her, and perhaps a reluctant Stacy getting her turn in the chair, too?

  2. Thanks for the comment. Coming from a master of perm stories means a lot. Beth and I have already talked about a future part 2. Chances are when Stacy comes back next summer Helen will have been transformed by her mother and Beth will be happier than ever. Stacy will also find her way into moving in, and still finding herself guilty, visit Mary.

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