With two weeks off from volleyball practice, Emily had made her usual three hour drive northeast to her home to stay with her family and catch up. They weren’t yet by any means in the tier of millionaires, but her father’s skillful dealing in the stock market had put the Haigood family into a higher tier, and they wanted for nothing. Emily, along with her sister Kinsey, had both gotten into the college of their choice, had whatever car they dreamed of, and received a respectable monthly allowance, too. She sat at the dinner table over a typical three course meal her mother had spent hours preparing, enjoying the first evening back home in quite some time.
“So, Em? The.. What do you call that style, now?” Her father asked.
“It’s called a fauxhawk, dad.. It’s like a regular mohawk, but without the sides shaved down.” She said, putting her fork down for a moment to guide the spiked ends of her short hair back up.
“Right, a ‘fauxhawk’.. It’s certainly.. Something..” He said, trying to think of a way to compliment it.
“Yeah, yeah, dad, I should wear it down to my knees, dress in ankle length skirts and not be allowed to vote..” She said, teasing him lovingly.
“Girls didn’t have haircuts like that when I was growing up.. Not even the hippies. I’m not quite ‘groovin’ like everyone else is, nowadays.. You look good, Em.” He replied.
“Stephen, I’m not ‘groovin’ either.. but no one says that, either. Stop aging yourself! What do they say, anyway?” Brenda asked her two daughters, sitting across the table.
“…Honestly? I don’t know, either, it varies from circle to circle.” Emily said after swallowing a mouthful.
“On fleek, right Em?” Kinsey asked.
“…Ya know what? Maybe.. I think the girls just say “hardcore” when something cool happens at practice.” Emily replied.
“Then you look ‘Hard-core’, Em.. That’s what I meant.” Her father said. She snorted, grinning at him.
“So have you met any boys, lately?” He asked.
“You knoooow I don’t quite swing that way, anymore.”
“It was just a hope.. It’s not like little miss “Structural Engineering” here is going to be bringing in any grandchildren anytime soon..” He replied.
“Heeeey!” Kinsey said, offended.
“What your father means is that he hopes you two find someone that make you happy.” Brenda said, kicking his leg under the table.
“What I MEAN is that someone needs to help me do yardwork and carry on my legacy, and I had this idea that I might get ONE grandson out of two daughters.” He replied.
“When they find the right ‘someone’ for them, I’m sure they will.. Emily can just adopt if Kinsey doesn’t come through for you.” Brenda said.
“Mooom! Is everyone just going to dump on me, today?” Kinsey sighed, jabbing her plate with her fork in a form of venting.
“You know we’re only teasing you.” Brenda said.
“Hey, don’t sweat it, Sis, you got the brains, and I got the looks, it’s an even split.” Emily grinned at her.
“Yeah you REALLY got the looks.. Every guy wants a girl that’s sunburned and hard as a box mattress.”
“They’re called ‘abs’, Kins, you would know if you put down the study book and got a gym membership.”
“I’m a little too busy being scouted for the development and design of SKYSCRAPERS, Emily, you can just stick to diving in sand and chasing a pretty ball around.” Kinsey retorted.
“Now, now, you two, you’re both special in your own way and we love you both equally.. Or at least that’s what I’m required to say by the moral codes of a family.” Their father said.
“What he really means is that I’M his favorite.” Emily grinned wider.
“Shut up!” Kinsey sneered.
“Both of you shut up while I go get dessert.” Brenda said, shaking her head with dismissive amusement at the two.
A few days later, Brenda was still laying in bed and looking on her Ipad when Emily came into the master bedroom.
“It’s nine, mom.. Don’t you have a house to clean, or something?”
“I was thinking about taking out of your college tuition and hiring a maid, actually..”
“Veeery funny.” Emily giggled. She stretched out, rubbing her head and laying down on her father’s side of the bed, on top of the sheets. She smoothed her thin night gown out, pulling the hems to try and make them at least go to the mid of her thigh.
“You’re not getting taller, are you? That fit the last time you were here.”
“I hope not? I mean, I’m already the tallest person in the house if not for dad.” She said, leaning over and glancing at what Brenda was reading. Emily looked like a direct copy of her mother. The same lean, athletic build, the abruptly square chin, high and wide cheekbones to detail a few features. Brenda was one of those mothers that could have passed for an older sister for how young she looked and how well she kept herself.
“I think there was some truth behind Dad’s sarcasm, and I think he’s still not really okay with my preferences..” Emily said.
“I think he’s just still a bit old fashioned after all this time, and having you living so far away, with Kinsey moved out, he might be feeling a little lonely is all.. You know he loves you no matter what.” Brenda said.
” ‘No matter what’ except when I put diesel in his not-disel pickup…” Emily said.
“I know he says a lot of far fetched things at times but I was honestly convinced he was going to strangle you for that..” Brenda remarked.
“..And you were just standing there while he paced the floor and gave me that look!?”
“Well it WAS a 1957 Chevorlet.. If I loved have classic trucks even half as much as he did, I might have done it, too!” She chuckled softly.
“I at least know the difference, now.”
“..And you have your own car, too.” Brenda said.
“That helps!” She smiled, scooting into her mother’s side and under her arm.
“Vaultnerware?” She asked, looking at the Ipad screen.
“Should I tell dad you’re looking at new baking pans and have your credit somewhere nearby?””
“Don’t worry about him, I’m just looking.. And if you knew how much he spent for chrome on his motorcycle last week you would think I had earned a shopping spree.. or two.” Brenda giggled.
“So I’ve noticed how much my lovely daughter has been coming out of her shell, lately..” Brenda said, petting the back of Emily’s head.
“Yeah? Is Kinsey a lesbian, too?” Emily asked.
“You know what I mean.”
“You’ve been so much more open with your preferences these last few months.. That haircut says a lot, too.” Brenda said.
“Yeah.. I think I owe most of that to Jenna.. She came out after she got her hair buzzed off… And I think seeing how brave she was about it just made me feel like I could be, too..”
“Your father almost had a stroke when he saw the picture you posted to Facebook of Jenna shaving your head, too.”
“Oh I SO wanted to see his face! Was he not-mad-disappointed??”
“Like you wouldn’t believe.”
“Yes!” Emily grinned, swishing her arm.
“I think he’s getting used to it, though.. I think it’s even more beautiful on you because it’s who you really are.” Brenda smiled.
“Thanks, mom.. Yeah, I think I’ll keep it short.. Maybe back and forth.. Sometimes like this.. Maybe clip it down.. Maybe a flat top..”
“I have something you might be interested to know, too..” Brenda said.
“I was waiting until you were home, but after seeing it on you, and how much it did for you, I decided I’m going to get mine shaved off, too.”
“WHAT? REALLY?!” Emily sat up halfway in shock.
“Yes, really..” Brenda said, patting her daughter’s belly a couple of times to coax her back down.
“Wow! What does dad think?”
“As much as he is allowed to think when it comes to my choices.”
“Bad -ass-.” Emily smiled. “When are you doing it?? Can I come watch?”
“That’s up to you.. I was going to ask if you wanted the honors or if I should go to the salon and have it done?” Brenda asked.
“..Me? You’d let me shave your head?”
“Of course.. You did such a fine job on Micha, after all.”
“Oh now THAT was fun!” She grinned. “I would love to!”
“Well when would you like to do it?” Brenda asked.
“The sooner the better? Should I go out and get the stuff?”
“I already have a set of sixty dollar clippers and everything else under the sink.
“Let’s do it after breakfast!” Emily smiled, pulsing with excitement.
“That sounds wonderful, Em.” She smiled, kissing her head.
“So when did you guys get a hot tub in the master bath?” Emily asked.
“Oh.. nine weeks ago, I think.. I’m not a teenager anymore and the hot jets have done wonders for my ankles and back after a run.” Brenda said, sitting in front of the vanity in her bathroom. She wore a white bathrobe with purple trim and had a bath towel draped around her shoulders. Her hair was typically kept in a bun, but fell to the middle of her back when let down, and would have been solid black if not for the premature streak of silver that had shown up. Emily stood behind her, brushing her hair down.
“I can’t believe you’re really doing this!” She giggled.
“Why not? Am I not cool enough?” Brenda teased.
“As long as you don’t say ‘groovin’…”
“I promise.” She laughed softly.
“So how are we doing this?” Emily asked.
“You’re the expert, here! Just be sure and save the biggest part of what you cut so I can donate it.”
“Got it.. You DO have a lot of hair, mom.”
“Not for long.” She smiled, watching Emily in the mirror. Emily tied everything back in a ponytail, then picked up the scissors, opening them up just ahead of the band.
“Yes?” Brenda asked.
“I love you, you know.” Emily said, leaning over and kissing her cheek.
“I love you too, Em.” She smiled.
Emily closed the blades around the gathered section of hair, opening them back up wide and then going back down, again. A few more times and she held the ponytail up, stroking it.
“Wow.. Yeah, they’ll pay good money for this as the wigmakers.”
“I don’t need the money, I’m just letting them have it.. It’s for a good cause, after all.”
Brenda ran her fingers through her chopped locks.
“I don’t think I’ve had it this short since before I was married.”
“THAT long ago?” Emily teased.
“Hush you.” Brenda chuckled at her. Emily picked up the clippers, admiring the polished aluminum housing on the handle.
“Wow.. You really went all out.”
“You can take them home with you if you like them, I can order another set in.”
“They look so much nicer than the set I’ve been using.”
“Then go ahead!” She said, Emily liking the idea as she oiled the blades and wiped the excess off on a towel.
“So how short do you want it?” Emily asked.
“All the way down.”
“Are you serious??”
“If I am going this far? Sure.” Brenda said. Emily left the blades unguarded as she turned them on, tilting Brenda’s head forward. She wasted no time, going up her nape and over the crown. Brenda sat contentedly, unphased by the shock anyone else would feel.
“So is there anything going on between you and Jenna?”
“Ehh.. There kind of was.. I mean we’re friends.. Friends that make out a lot, to spare you some details.. But it’s not a relationship.. I mean I like her, but I think our interests are just too far apart.” Emily said, clipping away at Brenda’s hair.
“What about Micha? Your teammate? She’s into volleyball and fitness, too, I understand..”
“Yeah! Micha’s pretty cool.. I mean we only recently started doing things together outside of the court.. But I’ve enjoyed it.. She has an awful sense of humor like I do and laughs at puns..”
“What have you gotten to do, together?” Brenda asked.
“Let’s see.. We’ve gotten chinese a few times.. Went bowling.. Oh, man! One time? She got really hyped about making a full strike, had this PERFECT stance and approach, but slipped off one foot and fell face first on the lane when she got there! I felt so bad for her.. After I laughed inside.” Emily grinned, tilting Brenda’s head aside and getting what was left.
“It sounds like you’re having fun together, what does she think about you?”
“I mean.. I think it’s still ‘friend’ status right now.. But if I made a move I think I could get her.”
“Are you going to?”
“..You sound like dad, but without the ‘grandchildren’ shtick.”
“You know I’m just asking!” Brenda chuckled.
“Yeah.. I might… Aaaaand you’re done.” she said, dusting her head off, having shaved all of her hair down.
Brenda picked up a can of shaving cream, handing it back to Emily.
“ALL the way??” Emily asked in surprise.
“Bad -ass-.” Emily giggled, spraying a glob into her hands and lathering Brenda’s head up.
“I didn’t expect this when I planned to come home for a couple of weeks!”
“Oh? Disappointed?” Brenda asked.
“Uh, no way? This is great!” She giggled, picking up a razor and shaving the stubble down.
“You’re quite good at it, too.”
“Thanks! I DID get a lot of practice on Jenna, but she has been letting her hair grow out, some..”
“I want you to see if she can make it up here, next time you come, she really is sweet.”
“Yeah, I’ll ask!” Emily said, finishing up. She put the razor aside, then wiped her head down with a towel.
“…Aaaand you’re bald!” She smiled at her mother’s reflection in the mirror. Brenda looked at her head, turning it this way and that and rubbing it once.
“Mm, it feels good.. I think it may take awhile to get used to the weight not being there, but I like it. What do you think?”
“You look ten years younger!”
“Oh you’re just wanting something, now.” Brenda chuckled, dismissing the thought.
“Can you do me next, and then we go out? Maybe to that sub shop on forty-second street?” Emily asked.
“You want me to shave your hair back off?” Brenda asked, curiously.
“‘Like mother, like daughter’, right?” She quoted, hugging Brenda’s neck.