The Big Change

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Mari had always been known for her long, brown, curly hair. It was her trademark, cascading down her back in thick, glossy waves. However, after years of maintaining it, she had grown tired of the daily hassle. Today, she decided it was time for a change.

The decision wasn’t made lightly, but once Mari set her mind to something, she rarely wavered. With a deep breath, she walked into Bill’s Barbershop, the bell above the door announcing her arrival with a familiar jingle.

The shop was just as she remembered it: cozy, with an air of nostalgia. The leather chairs, the large mirrors, and the steady hum of conversation created a comforting atmosphere. Classic rock played softly from the corner, a soundtrack to the buzz of clippers and snip of scissors.

Bill himself was behind the counter, talking with Ken, who had just finished with another customer. Bill was a tall, imposing man with a trademark white flattop that had earned him quite a reputation in town. His precision and skill were legendary, and Mari trusted him implicitly.

“Mari! Long time no see,” Bill greeted her with a wide smile. “What brings you in today?”

Mari smiled back, a bit nervously. She could feel the weight of her decision pressing down on her. “I need a change, Bill. A big one. I want to cut it all off.”

Bill raised an eyebrow, clearly surprised. “All of it? Are you sure?”

Mari nodded firmly. “Yes, I’m sure. I’ve had this hair for years, and it’s time for something new. Something short and manageable.”

Bill nodded, his professional demeanor taking over. “Alright then, let’s do this. Have a seat.”

Mari settled into the chair, feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. She took out a cigarette and lit it, the familiar ritual calming her nerves. The smoke curled around her as she exhaled, watching Bill prepare his tools.

Bill reached for a large black cape hanging on a hook nearby. The cape was made of a smooth, slightly shiny material, designed to keep stray hairs from sticking to it. He shook it out with a practiced flick of his wrist, letting it billow out before him. He then draped it over Mari, the fabric settling heavily around her shoulders.

Mari felt the cool, weighty material envelop her, adding to the sense of finality about what she was about to do. Bill pulled the cape snugly around her neck, fastening it securely with a strip of Velcro at the back. The cape completely covered her, hiding her clothes and creating a stark contrast with her long, brown curls that spilled over the edges.

He ran his fingers through her hair, assessing the best approach. “You’ve got beautiful hair, Mari. Are you sure you want to cut it short?”

Mari took another drag of her cigarette, the smoke swirling around her. “I’m sure, Bill. I want something different. Short and easy to manage.”

Bill nodded again and picked up a pair of scissors. He began by sectioning off Mari’s hair, securing it with clips. The first snip was the hardest, but once the initial cut was made, there was no turning back. Thick locks of hair began to fall to the floor, and Mari watched in the mirror as her long tresses were reduced to short, uneven layers.

As the first long lock fell, Mari felt a lump form in her throat. She tried to take another drag of her cigarette, but her hands were shaking. The enormity of what she was doing hit her all at once. She had loved her long hair, despite the hassle, and seeing it fall away was harder than she had anticipated.

Bill worked methodically, his hands steady and sure. He switched from scissors to clippers, shaping and refining Mari’s new style. The sound of the clippers was almost hypnotic, but it couldn’t completely drown out her emotions. Tears began to well up in her eyes, and despite her best efforts, a few slipped down her cheeks.

Bill noticed and paused for a moment. “You okay, Mari?” he asked gently.

Mari nodded, wiping away the tears quickly. “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just… a big change.”

Bill gave her a reassuring smile. “I understand. It’s a lot to take in, but you’re doing great.”

Mari nodded again, trying to compose herself. She took a deep breath and another drag of her cigarette, feeling the smoke calm her nerves slightly. Bill continued to cut, careful and precise, transforming her long, curly hair into a chic, short style.

With each pass of the clippers, Mari felt a little lighter, both physically and emotionally. The tears still came, but they were mixed with a sense of relief and liberation. She was letting go of more than just her hair; she was shedding years of routine and expectation.

Bill stepped back to admire his work, then made a few final adjustments with the scissors. “Almost done,” he said, brushing away any stray hairs. He used a small trimmer to clean up the edges and then removed the cape from around Mari’s neck.

“Take a look,” he said, gesturing to the mirror.

Mari took a deep breath and looked at her reflection. Her long, curly hair was gone, replaced by a chic, short cut that framed her face perfectly. It was a drastic change, but one that suited her. She reached up and ran her fingers through her new short hair, feeling the lightness of it.

“It looks amazing, Bill,” she said, her voice shaky but genuine. “Thank you.”

Bill grinned, clearly pleased with the result. “It was my pleasure, Mari. You look great. It’s a big change, but it suits you.”

Mari stood up and walked to the counter to pay, feeling lighter and freer than she had in years. “Thanks again, Bill. I’ll see you next time.”

As she stepped out of the shop, the sun was shining brightly, and a gentle breeze ruffled her new short hair. She took one last drag of her cigarette and flicked it away, ready to embrace this new chapter in her life, tears and all.

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