The Summer Sleepover
I had been looking forward to this weekend ever since school let out for summer, some three weeks before. My best friend had moved away in January, and it had been really difficult for her; for both of us really.
Marcy and I had been inseparable since we first met during the summer between our freshman and sophomore years of high school. It was a summer camp thing, but one that actually worked out. All too often, you meet someone at summer camp, and you make promises to keep in touch, but distance always would win out in the end.
For Marcy and me, it was different. Even though Camp Farrell was almost two hundred miles from home, we had managed to be from the same town, and not only that, from the same high school. The weird thing was, we didn’t know it until we had grown close. That was it, and we had been best friends ever since.
I still remember the day Marcy moved away. It was one of the most difficult days in my young life. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of promises, but just like those one might make at summer camp, I knew that they were hollow at best. Marcy would be some four hundred miles away.
So, when the chance came to visit her, I jumped at the chance. I was nervous of course, never having driven that far before. I was pretty sure my Civic was going to make it there and back, but just to be sure my father had run a check on it before I left.
Marcy was a year behind me in school, so even though I had already graduated from high school, she still had another year to go. The year’s difference in age had never bothered either of us, even though my other friends would often question it. So, we would often do things together, separate from friends in my grade.
Where I lived was fairly metropolitan, being close to one of the larger cities on the eastern seaboard. The town that Marcy had moved to, on the other hand, was completely rural. She had gone from a school with thousands of students, to one with a few hundred. This, she had said, was one of the biggest challenges.
Setting out on a Sunday, I had plans to spend the week there, and travel back home the following Sunday. I started a summer job the day after I returned, so it was really the last chance we would have to get together.
I was amazed at how long it took to travel the four hundred thirty miles, even though I had planned for it. The reality of actually driving for seven hours was different than how I imagined it. I did finally arrive, though it was later than I had planned.
Driving around a little before finding Marcy’s road, I was a bit taken aback by just how remote the place was. I was seriously in the sticks. Not to say there wasn’t a town; there was. It consisted of a single row of businesses that were all joined together into a single building. A few other scattered businesses and houses were there as well, but that was it.
Marcy lived on this road that was little more than a dirt track, with split rail fences on either side. I mean, it was beautiful, but a little scary too. All it needed was a bit of mist and it was a scene out of Sleepy Hollow.
A large yellow mailbox marked the end of Marcy’s driveway, she had warned me, and I was staring at that mailbox and then up the long driveway that seemed to disappear into the woods. With a certain amount of trepidation, I turned in and slowly crept up the long drive, the trees eventually enveloping me.
As I came to the top of a rise, the forest opened up into a wide lawn, a beautiful old farmhouse nestled at the center. It was one of those houses you saw in pictures, with a porch that wrapped all the way around, and what seemed like a spindled turret at the peak.
As pulled up to the house, I was surprised that there were no other cars to be seen. I was understandably relieved when Marcy came running through the front door and down to my car.
“Sarah!” She yelled, as I rolled down my window.
“Hey, stranger!” I slipped through the door and we hugged for a minute before her mother emerged.
“Sarah Weston, how good to see you.” She said, jumping in behind Marcy for a hug. I can’t say that I had ever been all that close to Marcy’s mother, for a few reasons. For now, she was being cordial, so I returned the sentiment.
I only had a small suitcase with me so there wasn’t a lot to bring in, and even though they offered, I insisted on carrying it myself. The inside of the house was just as lovely as the outside, with tall ceilings, and inlaid wooden floors throughout. The rooms were so much larger than I was used to.
So, when Marcy showed me her room where we’d both be staying, I was amazed by the size of it. The fact that there was a double and a single bed in the room barely encroached on the space at all. “Your room is like, huge, Marcy.” I ogled.
“Yeah, everything out here’s a bit on the large size. All the houses are like this.” The smile that she’d been wearing sort of ran away, and I got the impression that she wasn’t all that thrilled with being there.
“Are you happy, being here?” I asked.
“For the most part. I mean, people are really friendly and all, it’s just…”
“Just what?” I pressed.
“I don’t know, I guess I was just used to the city. This is nothing like that at all.”
Marcy helped me get settled, emptying my suitcase into one of the empty drawers of her dresser. I noticed a few differences right away. The clothes Marcy was wearing were a far cry from the fashion-conscious wardrobe that I was used to seeing her in. Of the two of us, she was the savvier when it came to the latest trends. Now it was baggy jeans and a t-shirt.
The other standout was her hair. Marcy and I had always prided ourselves on our long hairstyles. It was almost a contest to see who could grow their hair the longest. In contrast to my waist-length blonde hair, hers was now coifed into a respectable bob. It certainly looked good, and the style suited her face, but it was just different. For the moment, I chose not to say anything about it. It was just good to see her.
The reason Marcy had moved in the first place was so her mother could join her new husband in his family home. Marcy’s father had left her mother some years before I met her. Again, this was one of the reasons I never was that close to her mother. Her stepfather.
He was a very down-to-earth man, but had a strict set of rules that he insisted Marcy, and her brothers live by. Most of the rules had to do with respect and chores, but some also infringed heavily on Marcy’s social life. She was never allowed to date, and had to be home by eight o’clock every night, even on weekends.
Her mother seemed fairly powerless to intervene, so what he said, was generally the law. I had seen what happened when one of the boys disobeyed him and it wasn’t pretty. I had toyed with the idea of calling social services on him, but Marcy begged me not to.
That evening, when we came down for supper, it was a regular family affair, with Marcy’s stepfather sitting at the head of the table, her mother at the other end, and us kids in the middle. I say kids, but I was only a few weeks away from my eighteenth birthday. Both of Marcy’s brothers were younger, so I was the oldest of all of them.
“Well, Sarah. Welcome to our home.” He said, formally, without cracking a smile.
“Thank you, Mr. Cook. It’s nice of you to invite me into your home. It’s very nice.” Trying to be friendly.
“It was her mother’s idea. I really didn’t…”
“We wanted Marcy’s friend to visit, isn’t that right, Charles?” Her mother interrupted.
Rather than answer, he simply pushed another forkful of food into his mouth and turned towards one of the boys, giving him a stern look. I got the impression that he was tolerating my presence there, and that was all.
The first few days there were a lesson in country living. During the day, there were chores to be done, and I helped as much as I could, not wanted Marcy to have to do hers by herself. I put my hair up into a bun, on the top of my head, to keep it out of the way, something I was not used to doing. Most of the work was cleaning and yard work, but there were a few animals and crops to tend to.
Her brothers, Mark and Billy, did most of the heavy work, but we did things like feed the chickens and check the garden for weeds. It was stuff like that for the first half of the day, and then we were free to do as we liked.
Marcy didn’t seem all that interested in going anywhere, so my car just sort of sat there. Most of our free time was spent walking. Marcy showed me some of her favorite places to go. I was amazed at the variety of things to see. There were waterfalls, swimming holes, and even a small cave on their property.
It took a little convincing, but Marcy convinced me to go into the cave, promising it was worth it. Once inside, I realized what she meant. The walls and ceiling were coated in stalactites, giving it a sort of weird, other-worldly atmosphere.
It was on my third morning there that Marcy came up from downstairs looking more than a little out of sorts. I had just come out of the shower and was in the process of getting dressed.
“My stepfather… insists that it’s… haircut day.” Marcy stammered, dejected.
“So, what, he and the boys go down to the local barber or something? Don’t tell me, we have to do their chores?” I wondered.
“I wish it was that.” Marcy sighed. “No, when he says haircuts, he means all of us.”
Now I was starting to understand Marcy’s new hairstyle. “So, you mean you have to go too?”
“That’s exactly what it means, Sarah.” She pouted, visibly.
“Well, the bob looks good on you, Marcy, if it’s any consolation.” I comforted.
“You should just stay here. Make yourself something to eat, and hang out until we come back.” Marcy suggested.
“No way. I’m coming with you, Marcy.” I insisted.
“It would be better if you just didn’t.” She turned, meeting my eyes with her own.
“Whatever it’s going to be, I want to be there for you, okay?” I pressed. “I mean that’s what friends are for, right.”
“I’m coming, okay.” I insisted, again.
Shaking her head, she made her way down the stairs where the rest of the family was already assembled. Her mother, however, was conspicuously missing.
We all piled into the large club-cab Ford that her stepfather kept in the barn and headed for town. No one seemed particularly happy about this, so conversation was virtually nil.
The same small row of businesses came into view that I had passed on my way into town, only this time we pulled up in front of what looked suspiciously like a barbershop.
Now, I had never been inside a barbershop in my life, so I was understandably curious about what was inside. I couldn’t help but pick up on the nervous energy that Marcy was putting off, however. It was only after we all took a seat inside that I began to feel a little uneasy.
It wasn’t much of a place, really. There was one swivel chair that sat in front of a large mirror. In the chair was an older man who seemed to be having his head shaved with a straight razor. To be honest, the process fascinated me as I watched the barber skillfully scrape the blade over the man’s head. I hoped for Marcy’s sake, that the guy could do more than shave a head bald.
“Charlie.” The barber said to the side as we sat down.
“Andy. Brought the kids in for the summer cuts.” Marcy’s stepfather imparted.
“I can see that. Lookin’ a bit scruffy yourself, there. You too?” The barber asked, to which he only nodded.
When the old man was finished and had left the shop, Marcy’s stepfather stood up, directing Mark into the chair. “No guff, now.” Wagging a finger at the boy. “Crewcut.” Was all he said, before he sat back down. Mark just sighed as he ran his fingers through his shaggy brown hair one last time.
I watched as the barber pulled one of the clippers off the shelf and oiled it, applying a small metal tip. They fired up with a whine, and the barber immediately began to peel the hair off of Mark’s head. I could see the look of disapproval in the mirror as all of his hair fell to the floor of the shop. What was left you couldn’t pinch between your fingers. I kind of felt bad for him.
It wasn’t over yet. The barber changed up the metal tip, and started again, skinning the back and the sides even shorter, blending it into the only marginally longer hair on the top. Then, to top it all off, he lathered up his head in the back and around his ears, shaving him to the skin. When it was all done, he looked like a marine. Mark winced as he ran a hand up the back of his nearly bald head, taking his seat.
“Billy!” The stepfather ordered. Again, the same process. In the end, they could have been twins if it weren’t for Billy’s blonde hair. For whatever reason, his cut looked a hell of a lot shorter than Mark’s.
I looked over at Marcy, who seemed like she was about to cry. Without being asked she stood and walked to the chair. I was about to say something, when her stepfather stood and walked up to the two.
“Off the ears and collar. Better give her something to comb or her mother’ll complain.” He smirked, giving me an evil eye as he returned to his chair.
To my complete shock, the barber once again reached for the clippers. Didn’t he hear her father? Using a comb, he slowly divested my friend of most of her hair. He worked his way around, lifting the hair with his comb and then running the clippers into it. Huge clumps of Marcy’s hair were tumbling off the cape and to the floor as I did my best to hold it together.
This wasn’t a boy sitting in the chair. Didn’t they realize that? “Isn’t that a little short?” I blurted out, without thinking.
Everyone, including the barber, turned and looked, as if I’d broken some cardinal rule or something. The harshest look came from Marcy’s stepfather, who just glared at me until I felt totally uncomfortable.
By now most of Marcy’s bob lay on the floor, with what resembled a little boy’s haircut shaping up on her ever-shrinking head. In the end, he did leave a fair amount on top, but it really changed the way she looked. Gone was the cute girlish bob. She really did look like a little boy when she stood and came back to sit next to me. I thought I saw tears in her eyes, but was so caught off guard by what happened next that I wasn’t sure.
“What about her?” the barber asked, inquisitively.
“She ain’t mine, but if she was, she’d be getting the same as the boys.” Obviously still annoyed over my comment.
The whole time her stepfather was in the chair, he was staring at me, and it was starting to creep me out. Nobody said anything on the way back to the house, but I could tell that everyone was just about fit to be tied.
The boys disappeared into the back somewhere, and Marcy started cleaning the house as if nothing had happened.
“Marcy? Are you okay?” I finally asked, when I could get her to slow down enough to talk.
“Do I look okay?” She said, gruffly. “Look at me. Just… look at me.” She broke down, falling into my arms. I held her, my hand cradling her head, as it lay against my shoulder. Her short hair felt bristly under my fingers as I tried my best to console her. We escaped to her bedroom where she had a full-on meltdown. I honestly thought she was going to start breaking things, when her mother walked in.
“Marcy Anne!” Her mother chided. “You better stop all this before your father comes up here.”
“Look at me, Mom! Look at my hair!” Marcy yelled.
“Sarah, honey. Can you give us a minute?” She asked nicely. Not knowing what else to do, went back downstairs and took a seat in the kitchen. Right about that time, Marcy’s stepfather walked in.
“You got no business sticking your nose in where it don’t belong, city-girl!” He shouted. “Why don’t you just get on outta here, before I do something I’ll regret later.”
Right about then, all I wanted to do was pack my stuff and drive home. I couldn’t get my head around just leaving my best friend in this horrible situation. I wasn’t going to leave her, at least not yet. Not until I knew she was okay. Instead, I walked outside, anywhere away from him.
I found a spot near the edge of the woods where I could still see the house and watched. It took a while, but Marcy finally did come looking for me.
“You better go, Sarah.” She said, sadly. “He’s really pissed, and I don’t think it’s safe for you to be here.”
“If it’s not safe for me, Marcy, how can it possibly be safe for you?” I asked, insistently. I ran a finger over her starkly exposed ear, sympathetically. “It’s kinda cute, actually.” I smiled.
“For a little boy, sure. Sarah, I’m a sixteen-year-old girl.” She complained.
“I know. It’s still cute.” I insisted again.
“If it’s so cute, why don’t you try it on for size.” She suggested.
“What if I said I would?” Not quite believing what I was saying. I ran a hand down the length of my long silken mane. “What if all this…” I snipped at it with my fingers, “… was gone, like yours?”
“Don’t even kid around.” Marcy admonished.
“What if I wasn’t kidding?” For some reason, I suddenly had the urge to drive straight down to that barbershop and order up exactly what Marcy had. I had no idea why, but it was strangely appealing.
“I won’t let you do it, Sarah. Your hair. I mean, you love your hair.” She sighed.
“I love you more.” Not lying. “Let’s surprise the son of a bitch, and show him that true friends stick together.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. The idea of having my best feature reduced to a style that best suited a five-year-old boy, wasn’t exactly on my bucket list. This was my best friend, and I’d be damned if she was going to go through this alone.
“Come on,” I said, pulling my car keys out of my pocket.
I really didn’t start feeling nervous until we pulled onto the main street of this Podunk town. Somehow, I had to muster the courage to unglue my ass from the seat of my car, and find my way into the barbershop.
With Marcy, still in disbelief mode, I was on my own, for the most part. Right up until we walked through the screen door of the shop, like the true friend she was, Marcy was trying desperately to change my mind.
The barber noticed when we came in, but failed to acknowledge us until we’d sat down in the plastic chairs lining the one wall of the shop.
“Where’s your dad?” He asked Marcy.
“We’re here for me.” I returned, which caught him off guard.
“Charlie can be persuasive, but…”
“This isn’t about him.” I interrupted. “This is about sticking together.”
He shrugged, finishing the buzzcut he was working on, the young boy in a trance. I wondered if that was a thing. Does everybody go into disconnect mode when they’re being buzzed?
“Well, young lady. You’re next.” The barber swung the chair around to face me, and it took every ounce of courage I had to stand. My legs sort of moved on their own as I found my way into his chair.
He struggled a bit with the cape, so I helped him out, holding my hair out away from my neck. “So, what are we doing? I take it we’re not going with Charlie’s suggestion?”
For a split second, I honestly considered it, if only to piss him off. “No, just like hers,” I ordered, staunchly.
“Alright, then.” I watched carefully as he put the tip on the clipper and turned, poised to attack. This was it. My hair, my crowning glory, was about to hit the floor, and I imagined all the repercussions, like my life flashing before my eyes. What would my mother say? Shit, what would Brad say? We’d only been going out for a few weeks. Would he dump me? Would I be ostracized by my friends? The visuals were painful. But, by the time I reconciled my thoughts, the clippers had already begun their assault.
My eyes wandered back and forth between Marcy’s horrified expression and my long silky locks, slithering over the cape and onto the floor. To be honest, the sensation was a bit of a turn-on. I found myself having to fight off the buzz that was running through my loins as the clippers worked their evil magic.
Slowly, painfully, my ears started to appear from under the long veil of my hair. Thankfully, they were small and didn’t stick out too far, but just seeing them so starkly on the sides of my head was reminder enough of where this was going.
I remembered how the barber had blended the boys’ haircuts with the clippers and I suddenly felt the need to make the supreme sacrifice. If I was a true friend, how would I make Marcy feel better? “Can you cut mine a bit shorter than Marcy’s, without giving me a crewcut?” I asked, tremulously.
“Well, I can taper the back and sides a bit. That would be shorter.” The barber suggested.
“Marcy. Let me do this.” I insisted.
After the top was trimmed down to that ‘little boy’ length, I watched as he adjusted the clippers again, sliding them into my hairline, and running them up the sides, a little higher than I thought he might. My scalp was suddenly on display, and I couldn’t help but feel aroused. This wasn’t helping, and I was in danger of allowing this barber to go too far.
Fortunately, he stopped short of skinning me totally, giving me what he later described as a Princeton cut. By the time it came to the lather and razor, I was really having to bite my lip to prevent the orgasm that was threatening to humiliate me. Marcy, who knew me all too well, and who had shared a few covert masturbation sessions with me at camp (yes, guys, girls do that too), could plainly see the look on my face. The smile on hers said it all.
As I stepped out of the chair and paid the barber, I was amazed by the sea of blonde that littered the floor. That was all my hair, ‘all’ of it.
We sat in my car for a few minutes while I gather my wits. Marcy was in awe. “I can’t believe you did that. You are absolutely stunning, by the way.” She admitted, running her delicate fingers up my nape and onto my vastly abbreviated hair, which just barely laid down against my head.
“To be honest, I’m still coming to grips with it.” My hand joined hers, feeling all that remained of my once flowing blonde mane. It was all gone. The raspy stubble that covered most of the back and sides of my head was driving me nuts. I started the car, only to distract myself away from my inevitable orgasm.
To my absolute shock, Marcy leaned across the console of my car and pressed her lips against mine. For a moment, I wanted to push her away, but I just couldn’t. It felt way too good. Never in my life had I ever even considered being with a girl, but all of a sudden it was happening.
I returned her kiss with one of my own, the wet slippery saliva coating the one anothers’ mouths. I felt her tongue as it eased between my lips, and I welcomed it, gratefully, no longer holding back my arousal. Between Marcy’s insistent tongue and her fingers which now grated against my denuded scalp, I was on the verge of exploding, right there, on Main Street, Podunk!
Realizing that a young man was observing us from the sidewalk, I broke away, hastily driving out of town, in any direction, just away from there.
“Marcy? What just happened?” I asked, breathlessly.
“My greatest fantasy, come true.” She replied, her eyes boring into me as we pulled to a stop.
“But… I’m not gay.” I spluttered.
“I didn’t ask you to be.” Marcy insisted. “I just kissed my best friend.”
“I’ve never been more turned on my life.” I had to say to her.
“Neither have I, Sarah.” She smiled.
I put the car in drive and made my way back to her house, wondering if my impulsive haircut might be seen as a sign of capitulation by Marcy’s overbearing stepfather. At that moment, I really didn’t care. ‘Let him think what he wants’ I thought, because I knew inside that this was about solidarity, not submission.
Sure enough, as soon as he saw me, a shit-eating grin spread across his face. He could see that my haircut was quite a bit shorter than Marcy’s, and I was sure he was thinking he had something to do with that. In a way he had. If he hadn’t had Marcy’s hair cut so brutally, then mine would certainly have been safe.
Marcy’s mother was not nearly so understanding. “Sarah, what on earth have you done?” Reaching out to run her fingers over my razor-etched ear. She turned to her husband, defiantly. “Did you have something to do with this?”
“And what if did?” He huffed. “She deserved it.” Not wanting to relinquish an ounce of assumed responsibility for my severely tonsured head.
“You bastard!” She spat. “You crossed the line, mister. Cutting my daughter’s hair like that was bad enough, but to inflict something like this on our guest?” She stormed across the room, slapping him soundly. “I’m done with you! Done with your rules, your hateful attitude, and this prison of a house!”
For the first time, I saw him almost appear remorseful, but that look was soon replaced by a scowl. “You’re not going anywhere!” He went to follow, but the boys, having heard the screaming, stepped between him and their fleeing mother.
It got physical after that, but Marcy and I quickly retreated up the stairs, passing Marcy’s mother who seemed to be gathering her clothing together on her bed. Marcy and I did the same.
My car was small, but we would manage to fit Marcy, Mark, and a rather battered-looking Billy in the back while her mother took shotgun. Speaking of which, I could swear I saw the bastard standing in the yard with what looked like a rifle in his hand. I didn’t wait around to find out.
Bottoming out a few times as we raced down the drive, we made our escape. Marcy’s mom was in tears, so I didn’t want to explain anything about my haircut. It was so minor compared to what they were going through.
I think it was sometime during the trip that I explained my actions to Marcy’s mother. It did nothing to change her resolve. Something told me that this was a long time coming.
Marcy and her family were able to find a place a few blocks from where they used to live. It was tough for a while, but they eventually got back on their feet. Her mother was able to get her old job back. The judge in the divorce case, literally cleaned the bastard’s clock, siting abuse, and unreasonable behavior. Although I was pretty sure he was able to hang onto his family house, I couldn’t help but imagine him all alone in the place. I never felt sorry for him.
For me, things would never really be the same. My new look was a bit much for Brad, who broke up with me a few days after I returned. A few of my friends just didn’t understand, but most did. My mother, surprisingly, was more understanding than my father, once I told them what had happened, and why I did what I did.
Marcy and I grew even closer, now that she was back. Something had happened to me in the front seat of my car that fateful day, when she had kissed me, and when I had so passionately returned that kiss.
It wasn’t too well received by her mother, or by my parents either, but we officially became a couple a few weeks later. They eventually came around, but it took a while. Marcy and me? We had never been happier.
For Marcy, it was a culmination of years of yearning and silent longing, but for me, it was a revelation. Suddenly, everything about my sexuality made sense.
As far as my hair, that day in the rinky-dink barbershop was the last that I ever had long hair. In fact, Marcy loved my severely cut Princeton so much, that I was forced to maintain the look. Eventually, I grew to like it myself, and became a regular at the local barbershop.
This morning, Marcy had lovingly rubbed the sides of my head above my ears, frowning. “This is looking a little scruffy.” Her own hair had grown back to well past her shoulders, something that I had insisted upon.
So, as I sit in the chair, I can’t help but recall everything that had put me there. The long story flashes through my memory every time, just as it has been penned in this retelling. The clippers still feel as good as that first time, as they stripped the light blonde stubble back to barely perceptible nubs.
Each time, I think the barber creeps up just a little higher with the zero blades, and the scraping is felt over a slightly larger area as the straight razor takes the back and sides down to smooth shiny scalp. I’ve tried to keep a little bit to comb on top, but today, I asked for something different. The barber nodded with a smile at my request, and I knew that I wouldn’t be needing a comb for a good long while. Marcy will be pleased.