The Perfect Gift

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It was that time of year again. Our anniversary was fast approaching and, as always, I had no idea what to get my husband Tom. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried he always found out what I was giving him as a gift well in advance of me being ready for him to know.

It was not just our anniversary either. Christmas, birthdays, Father’s Day you name it I never quite got Tom the gift he wanted or deserved.

Because of this, I was dreading our upcoming 25th anniversary. This is a special one and what to give him completely eluded me. I was going crazy trying to get him “The Perfect Gift.”

Ordinarily, I would get him something for his shop. Now with our kids grown and out of the house he had the time to play with his machines and make whatever project he wanted.

We were also at a point in our lives where we had the means to get pretty much whatever we wanted. Our jobs were going well, with no more school tuition payments due we really had no financial restrictions. If Tom needed a new thingamajig for his shop, he usually just went and bought it either at a local store or online. Getting him something for the shop was not going to make the list of perfect gifts for our 25th.

I thought if I just relaxed the perfect gift would make itself known in my mind and I could go out and get it.

I went to get a massage hoping that would relax me enough to think clearly. All I got was a very nice relaxing massage and a glass of wine to go with it. No inspiration at all.

I then thought a nice manicure would do the trick. I talked with my usual manicurist who had all kinds of great ideas. Dinner, a night on the town, overnight trip to the mountains. We had done them all at some time or other. None of them were even approaching perfect.

With two days to go before our anniversary I was completely stumped. I looked at the calendar again and saw I had an appointment with Becky for my hair. Maybe she would have some inspiration.

Hairstylists hear everything. Bartenders and hairstylists know everything about each of their regular clientele. Women especially tell their stylists things they would not tell anyone else, even their priests. I guess it is due to the fact we are in their chair for such a long time and feel the need to talk.

I know I have told Becky everything about my life. I try not to include the embarrassing things but then she will tell me about some of her other clients and some of the things she hears while always withholding their names.

The one that sticks out most in my mind was the story of a client who was thinking about getting some Botox injections in her upper lip. I know Becky and I had talked about that at one time or another. At any event, this client got the Botox injection but then her lip swelled up and refused to move as normal and it began to look like a duck bill.

Ordinarily, having a duck bill would just be a problem in the office. The problem with this client was she was a teacher. Of course, the kids noticed her new look and she began hearing “quack, quack” sounds behind her during class. One kid got so bold as to bring a duck call into the school and every time he passed her classroom, he blew on the duck call. While to everyone else it was kind of hilarious the teacher/client was beyond embarrassed and could not wait for the Botox to run its course and let her lip return to normal. I doubt she ever got another injection.

I have been going to Becky for years. In all those years she has heard my stories of each of our children’s school, sports, love life you name it. She has also heard about Tom and me. What we do, what we like, and do not like. She pretty much knows it all.

I know a lot about Becky too. She was originally from England from somewhere north of London. She has an absolutely lovely English accent. It just sounds so sophisticated. None of the hard London cockney. Her husband is an American and they met while he was stationed at an American airbase where he was an airplane mechanic. After they married, he left the Air Force and became the chief mechanic for United at the airport outside of town.

As I walked towards the shop, I was still thinking about what to get Tom for our anniversary and I was coming up empty.

I walked into the shop and the receptionist greeted me warmly and told me Becky would be out in just a moment. Just as I grabbed a water bottle Becky came around a corner and opened her arms and we hugged briefly.

She took me back to her station and asked what we were doing today. I shrugged and said, “the usual I guess.” I was not that attached to my hair. I mean I know some women are so attached to their hair that having a half inch cut off is a moment of high anxiety. For me it was simply a fashion accessory. Like earrings or a necklace. I liked what I had and really had no desire to change. In short, I was comfortable with my style and had not changed it in years.

My hair is a dark auburn color and I had added some highlights several years ago at Becky’s suggestion. It was cut into what she and I called a Meg Ryan shag, and it has been this way for quite a while. Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary. It attracted no attention. Grocery store mom hair.

The only thing people ever really noticed about me was my height. I am 6 feet tall, which is quite tall for a woman. Other than that, nothing special to attract attention. Tom is also tall at 6’6”. We had met while in college at the gym. Tom was a basketball player, and I was the hitter on the volleyball team. We were both athletic and still maintained our athletic natures.

Becky took me back to the shampoo station and we began our chat. Her boys were deeply involved in lacrosse. I really did not understand the sport so much but appreciated their involvement and their commitment. They were off at a lacrosse summer camp somewhere.

Becky then asked me what was new in my life. I told her our anniversary was coming up. It was a big one and I still had no idea what to get Tom.

Her motions with her hands slowed considerably and I could tell she was off in thought elsewhere.

We chatted about other things of no consequence, and she finished my shampoo and escorted me back to her station with my head wrapped in a towel. I could tell she was still off in thought somewhere although where that was, I could not tell.

As she unwrapped the towel, she placed her hands on my shoulders and looked at me in the mirror. “I think I have an idea on what to get Tom for your anniversary.” My eyes got bigger, and I eagerly asked her what her idea was. “Let’s change your style big time. Let’s make Tom happy and go short.”

Over the years I have told Becky a lot of things about Tom. One of which is that he likes short hair on women. I know I am not too attached to my hair but having short hair, and by that, I mean really short, has never been high on my list of things I wanted to do. It just was not me. I have never been able to picture myself in short hair. Tom’s desires were never met because I just did not want to cut my hair off.

I looked at Becky, again wondering what had prompted this suggestion. “Tom likes short hair, right?” I nodded, not entirely sure of where this was going. “I think we can take care of your problem finding a perfect gift and something that will definitely surprise him.”

I looked from her to my still wet hair and wondered if this were something I could do. Becky continued, “Think about it. You can’t figure out what to get him and he has always wanted you with short hair. He’ll be stunned.”

Yeah, he’ll be stunned all right, I thought. Never have I had hair shorter than it was right now. I was beginning to think it might be a good idea and it might just be the thing I had been looking for. But again. Changing my looks was not something I had thought about.

This was not like buying a new outfit and if I did not like it, I could always take it back to the store and get something different. This was a long-term commitment that would take months to grow out.

Becky’s eyes got wide, and her hands started playing with my hair. “You could pull it off you know. You have a lovely face and bone structure. You have big blue eyes. Your figure is to die for. You can still fit into any outfit you would have bought while in school. Short hair would really suit you.”

That damn English accent had me mesmerized. It sounded so nice and convincing and had a “I just know something that will be good for you” ring to it.

My first thought was I had probably said too much to Becky about Tom. Past conversations with Becky flashed through my mind. I know I had told her how much Tom liked short hair. I also knew I had probably told her he liked the shorter the better look. How much of those chats had she remembered?

I looked at her again and asked, “Just what were you thinking?” She played again with my hair and put her hands reassuringly on my shoulders and said, “Pretty short. You’ve told me what Tom likes and I think I have just the cut to make this anniversary stand out forever.”

With the way she said it I just became putty in her hands. She convinced me just because of her accent. It sounded so knowledgeable, so trusting. She knew what buttons to push.

“Ok, let’s do it.” Whoa, did I just say that? I had not even asked her what she had in mind. I was going on blind trust here and now was having second and third thoughts about making a big change with little to no discussion.

I spoke up again. “So exactly what were you thinking of doing here?” She turned from her tray of tools and looked in the mirror and said, “I was thinking pretty short. You’ve seen Rachel, our receptionist, right?” I nodded thinking about Rachel and what she looked like. I turned and took a look at her at the reception desk.

She was a very cute college student working her way through school. She had been at this salon for a few years and her hair was always stunning. Rachel’s hair was short. A bit longer on top and then extremely short on the sides and back to give her an undercut. I had sometimes wondered just how they cut it that short on the sides and back. I assumed it was fancy scissor work. Other than noticing how cute she was and how nicely she kept her hair I never really gave her another thought.

Interrupting my thoughts, Becky continued. “I was thinking something along those lines for you. I am the stylist who does her hair. Similar but a little different, just to spice things up.”

O Boy, I thought. That would be a major change. I was also sure it would please Tom. A Lot. And it would have the surprise factor I had been looking for. Then I thought “this is what you get for telling your stylist everything.” As Tom would say, “Telephone, Telegraph, Tele-Stylist.”

Becky was looking in the mirror at me for a definitive answer to her request. I looked back and could only nod my head giving her the go ahead.

Becky’s smile spoke volumes. I think she had secretly wanted to make a major change in my style for a while. I was stuck in a rut. I mean how long ago did Meg Ryan have her hair like mine was now? 20, 25 years? It really was time for a change. But this would be a major change.

O well. In for a penny, in for a pound I thought. Pound. I thought again to how Becky’s voice conveyed confidence. Her English accent really did push me into doing what she wanted me to do.

As I was having these fleeting thoughts Becky had been busy with her tool tray. By now she had grabbed a pair of scissors and a comb and was combing my hair out and sectioning it off. The sections were different than how she sectioned it for the shag. Much higher on the sides and back. I wondered just how this cut would look and asked Becky what her final vision for me was.

She looked back at me and just asked, “Do you trust me, Leslie? I’ve been doing your hair for 15 years. I would never do anything that wasn’t in your best interests.” The way she said “Never” in that accent pushed me once again over the edge. She was in complete control, and I replied, “Yes, go ahead.”

She started in the back, and I could hear her scissors smacking against her comb. I felt her comb lift a section of hair and then the scissors cut across the comb. I couldn’t see a thing in the mirror, but I knew major lengths of hair were being taken off. At the second pass she pushed my head down. I could feel the comb lifting my hair and then hear the scissors cut through the hair. Then lifting again higher and cutting more hair off.

She was going higher and higher on my head with each pass. But she kept repeating it on the same path up. That much I could tell. Then she moved a little to the right and made similar motions up and up my head. Over and over again.

I couldn’t see a thing of what was going on. My chin was pretty firmly pressed into my chest and whatever hair was being cut off was falling down the back of the chair and onto the floor. I had no idea how much was coming off.

My mind flashed again to Rachel the receptionist. I tried to steal a look at the front of the salon where she sat. I had only a glimpse of her. What I saw was very short hair in the back. Was that what Becky was now doing to me?

Becky then moved to the left of what she had done and was apparently repeating everything she had already done to the center and right side of the back. After finishing this up she backed away and used her hand to guide my head back to its normal upright position.

While she was surveying her work, I tried to discern what she had done. Nothing. The hair I still had was hiding my view to the back and I couldn’t see what was already on the floor behind me.

Becky grinned and said, “This is going to be fantastic.” My spirits lifted at this comment. I was worried about how short she was going and how it was going to look. Even though I was not too attached to my hair I had developed a comfort just having it on me.

Becky turned me a little away from the mirror and started on my right side. She again lifted a section of hair and sliced away with her scissors. Repeating the process again and again moving slowly up my head and then gradually moving forward towards my ear. I still wasn’t able to see what damage had been done. I just knew a lot of hair had been severed away as some of it had found its way onto the cape and there was a lot of it.

She moved her comb above my ear, and I could feel nothing once her scissors had done their work. No hair came back over my ear. I began to fully appreciate what she had done and what she was going to do. She finished my right side by removing most of what used to be sideburns and then turned the chair around so she could work on the left side.

This was my first sight of what had been done to my hair. O boy was it short. It was well above my ear and went very high on my head. It had to be less than an inch long. My heart fluttered a bit with the realization I had short hair and yes it was truly short.

Becky only gave me a moment to view the side before asking me to look straight ahead. “Well, what did you think” she asked. I could only mumble something that probably sounded like OK. This was easily the least amount of chatter we had ever had during a haircut.

Becky grinned again and said, “Just wait, we’re only getting started and trust me. You’ll look beautiful for Tom.”

I had to trust her as she was already making major inroads on the left side as well.

When she finished the left side, I thought “OK, this isn’t so bad. I can get used to this. Tom will probably like it too.” Becky then proceeded to take the clips out of the hair piled on top and let it fall.

I was surprised at the contrast between the top being so long now compared to the sides. This didn’t last very long.

She combed out the top and I knew she would be cutting this down a little to be similar to Rachel’s. She combed out a section near the crown and held it up with her fingers and quickly sliced off anything above them.

I had thought she was giving me some length similar to Rachel’s which was about 6 or 7 inches. This was a fraction of that. It could not be more than 3 inches long.

I spoke up. “I thought we were going for the Rachel cut.” Becky smiled at me and said, “I only said it would be something similar to hers. I don’t want you to look like twins. This will be a little edgier and I think be more appreciated by our intended audience.” Meaning Tom of course.

I silently cursed myself again for telling Becky so much of Tom and his desires. What had I done and what did edgier mean?

She continued slicing off more and more hair. Once she had removed most of it, she then went back and took off a little more. I swore it wasn’t more than 2 inches long now. The hair piled in my lap looked huge.

I got scared and pushed the cape up with my hands, spilling the hair onto the floor and out of sight. If I could not see it, I wouldn’t be so stressed about what was happening, right?

Becky now took a few steps back to look at what I now had for a style. She ruffled my hair again and again to see how it moved. Something she had never done before.

She stepped forward and attacked my hair again. Now taking even more length away, but this time only small fractions of an inch came off.

She moved back and was apparently pleased with the result. I looked at myself and barely recognized the person looking back. I had hair that could not be more than 2 inches anywhere and it seemed to go every which way. The cut looked nice, but it was on someone I didn’t know.

While I was looking at myself in the mirror, Becky had turned to her shelf and picked up something that appeared to be fairly large. She turned back to me, and I saw she had clippers in her hand. Seeing the look on my face she just smiled and said, “Leslie, these are to finish the look we’re after. Trust me. You going to look great.”

That accent again. My trepidation at what was about to happen disappeared. I nodded again, speechless.

She then rummaged around in her tray and found a plastic attachment. All I saw was a purple piece of plastic which she attached to the clippers. Once done she turned them on and pushed my head down to my chest again.

She then pushed the clippers up my head until I feared she was going all the way up and over the top. But she stopped at the top of the bone. She repeated this several times to the side of that pass and then turned the chair again before she moved to the right side. Once again, I could not see what was being done. I stole another glance at Rachel and noticed she had turned to see what was happening to me.

Rachel looked at me and as we locked eyes, she produced a grin and a big thumbs up with her right hand. I grimaced back and hoped this would be acceptable to Tom as well as to me. I had serious doubts though. My comfort level had been left a long time ago and was now lying on the floor around me.

Becky finished the right side and turned the chair so she could finish the left side. I got a quick look at the right side and saw whatever sideburns I had were mostly gone. My hair was incredibly short. Much less than an inch on the sides where her clippers had done their damage. As Becky proceeded to remove hair on the left side, I knew she was doing the same there as she had done on the right side.

Turning me back to the mirror Becky took the purple plastic piece from her clippers. I thought she was done. She then picked up a red plastic piece and attached this to the clippers. I was certainly no expert in these things. But the red piece definitely looked like it was smaller than the purple.

I thought I might say something. “Well, that is certainly a different look than normal.” Yes, I am a master at conversation.

Becky smiled again and asked, “How do you like it so far?” So far? I thought it was done. How much more could be done? I think it might even be shorter than Tom’s at this point.

“It’s a shock that’s for sure. I didn’t think we would be going quite this short.” Becky pushed my head to my chest once again and said, “I think it is exactly what you were looking for. When we get done, I want to take some pictures for our web site. This cut looks amazing on you.” The way she drew out the word “amazing” I knew she was feeling good about what she was doing to me.

While she was saying this her clippers were going up the back of my head again. I knew more hair was being cut but how much more? I mumbled, “Seems like more and more is coming off. Are you leaving me anything?” Becky laughed and said, “Of course. Leslie, this is the final piece of cutting I promise, and it looks even better than I had hoped. Your head and face are perfect for this cut.”

That left me feeling better although what she hoped for before this all started had never actually been conveyed to me. I was completely in the dark as to what was happening. All I knew was the clippers seemed to be stopping just a bit lower than when she had used the purple attachment. She tilted my head up and turned the chair, so I was facing the front of the shop.

Rachel was now looking directly at me with wide eyes. We locked eyes again and she broke into a huge smile. Both thumbs were now pointed straight up. Whatever Becky was doing was at least getting the approval of her model.

Becky moved her clippers again and again up the right side of my head. She pushed down my ear and then moved them in front of my ear up and up the side. Finished on the right side she pivoted the chair to the left. This was my first look at what the final product would look like.

I have whitewalls. That was my first thought. There was just a whisper of hair left on the right side and I could easily see white skin where previously I had about 6 or 8 inches of hair. Becky had been moving her clippers up and up on the left side while I was surveying the right side. Coming back to reality I felt her push down on my ear and I knew whatever had been done on the right side was now being done on the left.

Becky turned her clippers off and centered the chair, so I was looking directly at myself in the mirror. As I turned my head from side to side, I could barely see any hair at all on the sides. The top was a mass of hair going in whichever direction it pleased. I was not at all sure of this. My face must have betrayed itself to Becky.

She looked at me and said, “Leslie, I know this is a major change. Take a moment to get used to it. When I first used the clippers, I almost stopped after the first pass. But I realized this was a chance to do something for you that would make you absolutely pop and be stunning. I used the short attachment and gave you a bit of a fade on the sides and back. Please don’t hate me. But I think this shows off a beauty in you that you never thought you had.”

I looked from Becky’s face to the stranger looking back at me in the mirror. After the initial shock of seeing me without the hair I had not changed in 20 years I was looking at what Becky was seeing.

I noticed my eyes. I have blue eyes and for the most part they had been hidden by my hair forever. Nothing was hiding them now and yes, they were popping. I looked at my ears. Thank God they didn’t stick out. They were actually kind of cute even though my stud style earrings did nothing to bring them any attention.

Becky then picked up another smaller set of clippers and turned them on. They buzzed furiously and she used them to outline what was left of my sideburns and then trimmed whatever was left in the back. Apparently satisfied, she placed the clippers back on her shelf.

I finally brought my hands out from under the cape. Spilling more hair from the cape in the process. I touched what hair remained on my head. I have to admit it felt both strange and fun all at the same time.

As I caressed my neck and above my ears a smile crept onto my face. It felt wonderful. I was still in shock by what I was seeing but beginning to see what Becky saw. As my smile grew Becky gave a huge sigh of relief and grinned back.

“If it’s all right with you, I have a special treat. On the house if that’s OK.” I looked back at her and said, “I’ve always trusted you. Whatever you say.”

Becky disappeared for a few minutes. Giving me time to explore my new style and trying to decide what I could do with it and wondering how Tom would react.

She came back with some paste and some foils which I knew were used for highlights. Something I had done many times in the past. She then got my hair to stand up straighter for a minute. Then instead of weaving the foils into whatever remained of my hair she put the paste directly on the foil and then just gently passed the foil over my hair. She repeated this several times leaving remnants of the paste in the tips of my hair.

Once satisfied she had that done right, she quickly escorted me to a dryer and told me we just had to cook the paste in for a few minutes. I sat under the dryer wondering what was happening and lost track of time. Becky reappeared and took me from the dryer to the shampoo station. She rinsed out whatever remained of the paste and then took me back to her station with my hair in a towel.

Once seated in the chair Becky rubbed the towel to get my hair as dry as possible and then removed the towel for the big reveal. WOW, was my first and only thought. My auburn hair now had more highlights than auburn. I was more of a blonde than ever. I looked great even with the shock of the shortness of my hair.

My smile spoke volumes. Becky was looking pleased with herself, and we began chatting again. Something that hadn’t happened at all this trip. She dried my hair in a fraction of the time it usually took.

She started to add some product to my hair and told me I could style it flat, spiked or every which way. Any look was fine with this cut. She gently hand combed it over to the side leaving a lot of volume.

She pronounced herself done and I got out of the chair. As I stood up Becky remembered she needed some pictures for their web site. She guided me over to a blue wall with a curtain and had me pose for what seemed like a hundred pictures. My confidence was growing with every click of the camera.

Once Becky felt she had enough pictures she told me she was as pleased with this transformation as with any she had ever done in her career. It did wonders for how I was feeling.

As I approached Rachel to pay the bill, Rachel told me the change was both dramatic and awesome. She really liked how I looked.

I thanked her and then turned to Becky. “Becky, never in a thousand years would I have ever asked you to do something even close to this. Thank you. Now all I need is the verdict of the guy who is supposed to like it.” “I’m sure Tom will be pleased. If not, the next visit is on me. Speaking of which, for this to look good you should be back here in 3 or 4 weeks if he does like it and you want to keep it.” I replied, “Let me see how Tom reacts and then we’ll go from there.”

“One more thing” said Becky and motioned for me to come closer. She whispered in my ear. “They say that men who like women with short hair are very passionate and very loyal.” She backed away with a big grin and a wink. “I hope I’m right.” And she left me to leave the shop with those parting thoughts.

I walked out of the shop and felt like there were eyes on me the entire 2 block long walk to the parking garage. I got in my car and looked again in the mirror and prayed Tom would approve. I was scared but beginning to like what I saw. My drive home must have looked like I was a drunk driver. I was constantly looking at myself in the mirror, touching my hair and feeling my now naked nape.

As I walked into the house Tom was in the kitchen on his cell phone. I held my breath. Waiting for a reaction.

He turned and as he saw me the phone dropped out of his hand onto the countertop. He recovered and told whoever he had been talking to that he would call them back and hung up.

He turned back to me, and a huge smile erupted on his face. He liked what he was seeing. I could draw another breath.

“You look fantastic. This is the surprise of my life. I love it.” Then he gave me a hug and his fingers immediately felt my hair. “All I can say is I love it. What made you do this?”

“Our anniversary or had you forgotten that” I said. I was just so glad he liked it and was obviously pleasantly shocked. I think I had succeeded in giving him a present he liked.

“Who were you talking to on the phone?” I asked. “Uh, nothing. I need to call someplace else now though.” And with that cryptic remark I went to our bathroom to check out my new look more closely.

I became sure he liked it a few minutes later when Tom came into our bathroom and grabbed me and took me to our bed. Our clothes came off faster than on our wedding night. When we had a chance to catch our breath a while later, I had to wonder at his newfound ferocity in bed. My God, I thought. So far, Becky appeared to be right. What have I been missing out on all these years?

Tom had always been a passionate lover but the last hour had been nothing short of phenomenal. I could not remember Tom being like this, ever. His hands were all over my hair. His lips caressed every part of my head. I loved it.

Later that night Tom attacked me again and we had another very physical moment on our couch. We were both spent.

Our anniversary dawned as a beautiful day. Bright and sunny.

I noticed Tom was already up and I smelled breakfast cooking. Tom was a great cook and truthfully did most of the cooking in the house. He motioned to the kitchen table, and I noticed a card on top of a small box. He indicated I should open them both.

The card was thoughtful as ever. The box held 2 large hoop earrings with my birthstone set in the middle of the hoop. Emeralds! They were big, they were beautiful.

“I worried about those earrings. I was afraid your hair would hide them, and they would get lost so I bought larger hoops than normal. I hope you like them,” he said. I replied. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for a while. I love them.” He got a look of concern which I took to mean he was afraid I would grow my hair out immediately. “Don’t worry. I like this style and if you like it too, I am more than willing to keep it for some time to come.”

Tom grinned and picked me off my feet and kissed me firmly on my lips. “I do not like it at all. I love it. Keep it for as long as you want.”

The rest of the day went uneventfully. Tom left for an errand and told me we were going out to dinner at a nice but unspecified place.

When he got home there was a large package in his hands. He handed it to me and said, “You probably want to wear this for dinner.” Wondering what it could be I opened the box. It said Nordstrom’s on it. I love everything they have at the store, but I also know nothing at Nordy’s is cheap. In the box sat an emerald green dress with a plunging neckline in front and an equal but lower plunging cut in back.

I looked at Tom speechless. “Go on try it on.” I was afraid. This was a very revealing dress. Not one I would have ever picked out. But if Tom thought I would be able to pull it off then I was going to give it a try.

My confidence over my haircut was still growing. This would test my new limits to the max.

I went back to our bedroom and took the dress out of the box. No stickers. It obviously did not accept a bra, but it had a little padding. I put it on, and he must have known exactly what my measurements were because it fit like a glove. Whoever helped him at Nordstrom’s was spot on. That was good because I was afraid of falling out of it.

I put in the new earrings to complete the ensemble. Looking at myself in the mirror, I thought I looked pretty damn hot if I do say so myself.

I went back to the great room and Tom was at full attention in every way imaginable. He took one look and said, “It’s just as I thought it would be, and more.”

“This is a little over the top for where I thought we were going to dinner,” I said. Tom replied, “It is. That’s why we are not going there. I changed our reservation for another nice place. We’re going out to show you off tonight.” He went off to change his clothes and came back in a suit. But he refused to tell me where we were going.

We got in the car with me still wondering where we were going that could be so special. We lived on the east side of town, and we went completely through town and started going up into the hills on the west side. There was only one place I know of that was this far out.

“Are we going to Jax?” Tom smiled and nodded his head. “That’s where I had to call after I dropped the phone.”

Jax was the best place in town, if not the entire state. We had never been there. The prices were high, but the reputation of quality was well known.

“Are you crazy Tom? Jax is the most expensive place I know.” “Leslie, you are more than worth it. Your present to me probably didn’t cost any more than any other haircut you’ve ever had. But to me what you’ve done to yourself for me is priceless. You know I’ve always loved you and didn’t care how you looked. I love the whole package. But this is more than I ever imagined. I just love the way you look. I want every eye in Jax to be on you. The men will envy me for what I have, and the women will wish they had the guts to do what you’ve done.”

I thought he was out of his mind and that he was just turned on by his emotions.

It turned out Tom wasn’t exaggerating when he made this comment.

We turned the car over to the valet to park. As we walked into Jax the receptionist took one look at us and scribbled some notes on her table assignment sheet and told the server to take us to our table. Between Tom at 6 and a half feet tall and me at 6’ and the dress and the hair we were admittedly quite a striking couple.

As we passed other diners out for their night on the town it seemed to me that every eye did indeed follow us to where we sat. It seemed the staff had seated us in the center of the room.

Tom was all smiles and knowingly looked at me and motioned with his head at the other tables. I quickly glanced around, and people were looking at us. I quickly smiled back at Tom and could not help but keep smiling for the entire evening.

We told our waiter we were celebrating our 25th. He took several pictures of us, even asking us to stand up to let him get some of the full look in our best attire. I was not sure if he were trying to see how much he could see of me in my dress or not. All I know is the pictures came out beautifully.

Dinner was as good as Jax’ reputation claimed it would be. It was also as expensive as we had heard. We were there for a full four hours.

As we got up to leave, those diners still in the restaurant seemed to turn their attention once more our way. I was now reveling in the limelight.

On our drive home Tom said, “You know I always knew I had the prettiest girl in town. After watching all those other guys taking a look at you all night just confirmed it. Leslie, you stole the show tonight.” I was beaming the whole way home. My confidence in my appearance at sky high levels I never knew I had.

When we got home, we quickly repeated our activities of yesterday and reenacted our wedding night all over again. We were approaching a new record in this department. If we kept this up, I was going to be sore too. But I could very happily live with that.

The next morning, I called the salon to make an appointment for 3 weeks out. I also left the receptionist with a note to tell Becky she was right about men who like short hair. I knew once she got the note, she would not be able to wait until my next appointment to hear as many of the details as I was willing to share. Tele-stylist.

I had given Tom the perfect gift and was going to make sure he remembered it for a long time to come.

5 responses to “The Perfect Gift

  1. This is such a well written, immensely enjoyable story! There’s so much detail, great, funny and real dialogue, it’s so easy to read and like. This is the kind of story structure I try to emulate. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Thank you for the positive comments. I try to write a short story that is easy to read and will resonate with this audience. Some might say I can be a bit wordy but it is a story. Not something to hand in to the teacher at the last minute. As most of you know, coming up with the outline for the story is the hardest thing to do. That’s why there is such a long delay between stories here.

    1. You certainly put quality ahead of quantity, which is very admirable, and despite your claim about being to wordy, it’s the dialogue and ample detail that really make it so great.

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