She is a lady

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Delilah took a hit. She breathed in the smoke deeply and soon there was nothing but bliss around her. She didn’t know what happened to her while she was in the high but that didn’t matter. As long as she was high, she didn’t care what happened to her.

Next thing she knew, she was on the toilet in the park restrooms. It smelled like she pooped her pants again but to be fair, she always smelled slightly like feces. She sat a moment, trying to begin to stand up. Then, suddenly, vomit violently spewed out of her mouth and covered the front of her shirt.

”Damn it all!”Delilah threw open up the stall door and barged over to the grimy sink ahead of her. She quickly and roughly started to clean off the swampy green chunks off her filthy, black shirt. Her eyes looked at herself in the mirror. There was vomit in her chestnut hair. Delilah banged her head against the facet as she used the water to wash her hair.

”Ugh! This hair has been nothing but trouble”,Delilah said to herself as she put on her heavy jacket, which she left by the restroom door while she got high, and threw one of her backpack’s straps over her shoulder,”I really need to just cut it all off”

The girl always said that every time her hair got dirty but she never went through with her promises. Delilah had been homeless for almost a year. Her parents turned her into the police when they found the drugs she was selling under her pillow, so heck to them, and wouldn’t house her after she was released from prison. She hated living at the shelter because they would kick out everyone during the day and was cramped and they hired on a creep who almost did something unimaginable but Delilah managed to get away.

Now, she was living on the streets: in the park, under a bridge, anywhere where she could find some sort of calmness. It was nighttime. Delilah walked around a bit, still feeling the aftershocks of the high, and then found a bench to sleep on. She sat down on the bench, took a few breaths, felt the chill of the evening, and then flopped down on her side to try to get some sleep. Her body curled up into the fetal position, for warmth, and drifted off into sleep.

All Delilah saw was black. The only thing she wanted to see was black. For a few minutes, everything was silent. But then, Delilah started to hear something. Bells.

Groggily, Delilah opened her eyes. A flood of light instantly met her eyes: almost blinding the poor girl. She shielded her eyes and when her eyes adjusted to the light, Delilah was shocked as to what she saw. The dull, dark park that was gone. Now, the bench Delilah was sleeping on was in a garden park in a bright and colorful world. Everything was new, fantastical compared to the scene Delilah was in not a second before.

As Delilah sat there, completely dumbfounded and awed, a woman came walking by with a paracel. This woman was like the women Delilah saw fighting for the vote in the exhibit at the museum she had visited during the first few weeks she was homeless. The woman took notice of Delilah staring in awe, with her mouth almost all the way open, at her. She smiled at Delilah, impressed by the girl’s fancy to her outfit.

”Well, hello there”,the woman stepped closer to Delilah, her right hand out for the girl to shake,”I’m Alma. And yours?”

”I’m Delilah”,the girl blushed while feeling terrible when she saw the woman sniff around her as if she figured out that Delilah had never taken a shower in years,”I-I’m really sorry ma’am. I stink don’t I”,she said ashamedly.

”You sure do”,the woman nodded, still holding Delilah’s hand,”But that isn’t a problem. Come with me, luv, and we’ll get you cleaned up”

This woman never ceased to amaze the girl as she helped Delilah to her feet and put her arm around the girl, pulling her in as they started to walk together through the garden park.

“Where are you from?”the woman asked.

”Um… er- Michigan. I was born there and lived there with my parents”,Delilah told,”But when they… they found my- Uh, I’m sorry but it’s too much. I-…”

”That’s alright”,the woman put Delilah at ease with a knowing nod,”We all have something in our past that we’re not proud of and that’s okay. We all make mistakes, uhn”

”Yeah”,Delilah tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear and smiled slightly at Alma: giving her a courteous, quick glance. The two walked out of the garden and into the adjoining town. It was nothing like Delilah had seen before. A town like the one she and her friend were walking through was only in those old movies that the prison would put on for her and the other juvenile inmates. Everyone seemed to be humming a merry tune as they worked. Alma greeted them as the two went by.

Delilah and Alma soon arrived at a hotel of sorts. They walked in and up to the front desk. A woman was doing a crossword puzzle. She looked to have on a shorter version of clothes than Alma but both sets were from same era. The woman’s black hair was done up in a Gibson girl hairdo. Her glasses were thick and round.

”Morning, Abigail”,Alma sang out. Abigail looked up from her puzzle, adjusting her spectacles to get a good look at the two, as Alma went on,”I have a new friend here. Her name is Delilah. Isn’t that a beautiful name. Anyway, Delilah here needs a bath. Could you get her one”

”Room 116 is available”,Abigail held out the keys to the room,”It has a tub”

”Perfect”,Alma daintily swiped the keys,”Alright, little miss, let’s go get you in a bath”

Delilah was whisked away into room 116 and taken into the bathhouse. Alma instantly began to heat up water and with great speed, filled the tub up with very warm water. All the while she was doing that, she politely told Delilah to get ready for the bath. Delilah took off her jacket, shirt, pants, and socks. She stood in her tank top and shorts which she would never dare take off while someone else was in the room. Alma noticed this fact and smiled warmly, breathing,”Would you like me to give you some privacy, luv?”

The girl sheepishly nodded. Alma gave a playful curtsy and walked out of the room, slowly closing the door behind her. Only then did Delilah finish undressing and get into the tub. As she bathed, Delilah heard Alma say,”Dear, I set out some clean clothes for you. They’re on the bed. Meet me downstairs when you are dressed, alright?”

”Yes, ma’am”,Delilah shocked herself as she heard the words coming out her mouth, she sounded like a child,”Thank you”

”You are very welcome, luv”,Alma replied from behind the door. Delilah then heard Alma leave room 116, softly closing the door behind her. The girl sat in the tub with the calmness surrounding her. She thought about her words just prior. It has been forever since she said thank you to anyone, even longer since someone did something for her or even called her a friend.

After she bathed, Delilah dried herself off and moved into the bedroom. On the bed was a dress and stockings. Shoes were laid neatly on the floor. Delilah put on fresh underwear, which made her feel free, and slipped the dress over her torso. The stockings were a little hard to get on but the girl managed to do it. Her feet filled the shoes. She went over to the beauty station and looked at herself in the mirror. That girl looking back at her didn’t look like her but it was.

Delilah felt better than she had been in years as she went downstairs. All the effects of the drugs seemed to have just disappeared from her system. Her lungs breathed more air in. Self-esteem was at an all time high for her.

Going downstairs, Delilah saw Alma. When she did, the girl ran over and gave Alma a big hug. Alma started to laugh heartily and hugged Delilah back as the girl said,”I-I just wanted to say thank again, for everything you have done for me”

Alma chuckled,”You’re quite welcome, luv. What say you we go on another walk”

Delilah took a step back,”Where to?”

”It’s a secret”,Alma giggled. Delilah let out a chuckle of her own and shrugged,”Why not”

Alma nodded took Delilah’s arm as the two started to walk out of the hotel and down the street. The girl couldn’t help but look around at more of the buildings as she and her new friend walked past ‘em. Soon, Delilah felt something in her heart. It began to beat faster and faster. She looked as to where Alma was taking her and a building was coming up fast with a red, white, and blue pole at the front of it. As the two grew closer, there was a sign in the window. The writing on it was French but the illustration next to it made the sign’s purpose clear: this was a barbershop.

”In we go, luv”,Alma motherly prodded Delilah into the shop.

“O’ Gladys!”Delilah heard Alma sing out. The call brought out an older woman from the back of the shop. This woman had on a barber’s smock and a long skirt that fell past her ankles. Her eyes were narrow, hair in an updo, and glasses were thicker than Abigail’s and had gold rims. All the hair on top of Gladys’s head was the shiniest shade of white that made her look kind and motherly but she seemed irritated in a way: that’s what Delilah concurred from looking at the older woman.

”Gladys, my dear friend”,Alma escorted Delilah further into the shop,”This is my friend Delilah. She would like a haircut”

Delilah nervously shook her head at Alma, trying to persuade her to the contrary. But Alma instead sat the girl down in the lone chair as Gladys nodded,”I could do that”

The girl’s heart pounded like a wild drum as Gladys wrapped a striped sheet around her body and tightened it about her neck. Increasing frantic, Delilah blurted out,”Please, don’t cut my hair. I love my hair”

”But you have always said that you desperately needed to cut your hair”,Alma reasoned,”I thought this was going to help you”

Alma’s words brought a tear to the girl’s eye. She tried her best to clear her throat and said,”I-I do. But I… Please, I need help”

”Aw, dear”,Alma hugged Delilah, tenderly,”This is the only way I can help but if you can’t do it, I will understand”

Delilah sniffled and nodded at Alma and then Gladys. Alma then also gave Gladys a nod. Gladys nodded and retrieved her scissors. She started to comb through Delilah’s chestnut hair before taking a piece and cutting it off. Delilah watched as more and more hair was cut off and tossed. All the hair started to cover the striped cape thickly as Delilah’s head was left almost bare.

Gladys took up her clippers next and started to climb up the girl’s head, clipping the short tufts of hair off and leaving only tiny stalks of stubble in its wake. Alma felt up Delilah’s shorn head as Gladys whipped up some shaving cream in a bowl.

”We’re almost done, luv”,Alma said which made Delilah blush. Gladys came to the chair, dusted all the hair off the the sheet, wrapped a towel around Delilah’s shoulders and tucked it in, and started to spread the shaving cream all over the girl’s head. She unfolded a razor and quickly cleaned off the cream from Delilah’s head, wiping the razor on the towel periodically. The woman very skillfully and had Delilah’s head shaved in five minutes.

”There we are, Miss”,Gladys said, removing the sheet,”All done”

Delilah looked at herself. She didn’t know what to think, looking down at her hair lying dead on the floor. Her eyes met Alma’s in the reflection of the mirror. That smile made of hers made the girl blush and smile.

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