Raspberry University offers many classes, and always a favorite among students is the Freshman’s gardening class. The gardening class for the last 20 years was led by Ms. Blum. She was a truly enchanting professor in her early forties who has always had a never-ending passion for gardening. They could not imagine any other teacher doing justice for the humble art of tending to plants, but she was not in any unique contract to stay teaching at the university.
Things looked well for Ms. Blum’s flower garden in the spring (perhaps the butterfly plants could bloom and attract butterflies), but there were tensions at the University that began to mount led the college leadership to consider making mandatory dress codes for the faculty in the face of a rising pressure for unionized professors. Ted Heller worked part time in administration and was disheartened when he heard what they were considering implementing. He was near graduating and picked up a job working on campus when his preferred career was much different.
After he heard about the new rules being put into place, he knew he had to run to Ms. Blum’s Greenhouse before the day was up. She was his favorite teacher and though it had been a while since they talked, he secretly fell in love with her wistful ways.
“Ms. Blum!” He called out, rushing into the greenhouse. He saw her from behind at first, her long blue dress mostly covered by her matte, blonde hair falling towards the small of her back. It was very thick and a little bit wavy towards the ends.
“Hey there, Ted!” She said, whirling around. Ted wondered how she remembered his name, but realized it was just part of her magic. “Haven’t seen you in a while. You should have taken my class about soil types.”
“Yes, sorry, just not in the right major, I suppose.” He said. “My counselor said I didn’t have to take it.”
“Fair enough. So, what was it that you ended up getting into then anyways?”
“I’m looking to become a barber, so I am doing a lot of trade stuff on the side.”
“That’s incredible! If your passionate about it, I’m glad you can do what you love for a living. I hope hair isn’t the reason you were just running this way.”
“Unfortunately, Ms. Blum, I’m afraid that’s part of it.”
“Have you heard about the school’s attempts to ward off unions? Well, they are going to go ahead and implement a mandatory dress code. It’s pretty lenient about what clothes women can wear, but not so much on hair length.” Ted began to turn red. “I’m afraid I don’t know if yours will make the cut, no pun intended. I just wanted to let you know.”
Ms. Blum gasped with a hand to her mouth. “I figured it might come to it, they’ve been mentioning a uniform for a while and have been putting it off for some time now.”
“I don’t think the mandate will stick. Then the school might really have to deal with Professor problems, but we’ll just have to see, but I’m sorry I had to be the one to tell you.”
“Don’t be,” Ms. Blum said, placing a hand on Tom’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”
The next day, Ted got back to work doing office tasks, knowing that there will be a flood of outrage now that the mandate had been announced, but the mandate requirements had yet to be announced. It was later in the day when Ted got an email from Ms. Blum asking him to meet her in the greenhouse around sundown.
When the time came, he quietly gathered his things and headed out for the greenhouse.
The next time he found her, she wasn’t wearing her normal dress, but a tee shirt and short shorts. Her hair was long, wild, and free as ever. “Sorry, Ms. Blum, why did you call me here this evening?”
“Ted, I love teaching here, more than anything, and I am afraid that the union would get me fired if it came around to it. I have a duty to my students. So, if I won’t make the cut, then maybe I will make the cut, after all.”
Ted felt butterflies in his stomach. “Wait, what do you mean, Ms. Blum? We don’t know what the required length is yet.”
Ms. Blum looked at him with determination. “But I think I know what it’s not. A girl can’t make a change in her looks?”
“Even if you really did want a cut so badly, and I imagine you want me to do it, but I don’t have any tools.” Ted admitted. Ms. Blum walked off a short distance and grabbed a box.
“I know, that’s why I sprung to buy this earlier today.” She came back with it clutched tightly to her chest, and she was even reluctant to hand it over to Ted. While he expected it to be scissors, it was actually a set of hair clippers with a comb and nothing else. “So, what can you do with this mess?” She said tousling her hair with a nervous smile.
Ted reached over and pulled her hair back to get a better look at her face and head. “I think I can do a flattop haircut. It would look great on you but it’s a far cry from what you already have.”
“Great,” she said with a heave in her chest. “I’ll take your word for it.” She bounced over to another setup she made for her own little hair parlor. First, she pulled off her shirt so there would be no clippings to ruin it. Even confined in a bra, her round breasts bounced with life after becoming freed from the shirt. She took a seat on a fold-up lawn chair and held a beach towel around her shoulders. Ted could tell her knees were shaking a little bit.
She turned her head with eyes bright. “Well! Don’t just stand there. I need some tending to.”
Ted started by combing out her long tresses. He did it for longer than he needed to because he could tell the motion of playing with her hair was soothing her nerves. Her eyes remained tightly closed as he stroked the whole length of it. “Your students are lucky to have such a great teacher. Are you ready?”
Ms. Blum jumped as Ted flicked the clippers on, and then her body sat straight up in shock as they made the first path through her right sideburn. He used the 1.5 guard and with his first swipe he could tell he gave the proper gradient length. She could not turn back if she wanted to.
He kept sweeping paths over her head with the clippers, dropping foot after foot of her blonde mane on the floor below or sometimes on her lap or shoulders. Ted could tell her breasts, draped across with blonde strands, would raise up a little higher whenever another chunk covered her.
He kept making his way around her head and obediently she sat still, even lowering her head forward so that Ted could clean off the over-growth on her neck.
She opened her eyes for the first time when Ted turned off the clippers for a moment. Nearly all her soft locks had been shorn off. Now she looked like a woman with a faded pixie cut if a bundle of straw had popped open in front of her. “I never knew how light it would feel.”
“I never knew your hair was so much darker towards the root. When this hair is done, I’m afraid it won’t look blonde, but I think it will be an amazing colour.” Ted said. He reached out to inspect his work and what he had left to do, caressing her chin. He never imagined a woman could turn so red.
“Salt on the wound?” She whimpered as he fired up the clippers again and used a comb to saw off what hair she had left that could fly in the wind. It wasn’t much longer before her hair had been perfectly leveled off on the crown of her head.
Ted pulled off the towel, indicating she was free to stand. She looked so much taller and full of life posing shirtless to her own reflection. “It’ll take some getting used to. I’m sure my students will understand.”
“Personally, I think you picked the wrong profession, Ms. Blum. You’d make for one pretty soldier in the ranks!” Ted joked while gently dusting the hair clippings off her face with his hand. Ms. Blum laughed with him.
“But on a serious note, thank you so much for doing this for me. Care to maybe do a touchup sometime? It’ll be a while before I have such long hair again!”
“Of course, Ms. Blum. Just let me know any time!” And Ted went on his way after that, leaving Ms. Blum to sweep up the greenhouse. But he didn’t leave before taking a small lock of hair to remember her and her formerly long hair by.