The Regular- Part 4

By Tairish

While it was easy for Kim to convince herself never to have her hair done again, it was tougher to convince others. Almost all of her co-workers complimented her on how she looked, as did any of her friends she had bumped into at the New Year’s party. The compliments were fine, but they all added statements like "You should wear it up more often" or, "When are you going to put it up again?" These comments started to perturb her eventually. Here she was with this stunning long flowing mane and all everyone wanted her to do was damage it and stuff it up out of the way. But she would just answer with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders.

However when Michael too asked the same questions of her, she was both frustrated and hurt, and immediately started crying.

"I thought you liked my hair long!"

He was dumbfounded. "I do. I adore it long. What did I say?"

"If you want me to keep having it put up it’s like asking me to cut it, because all that curling, teasing, and spraying is so unhealthy for my hair. "

"I thought you said your hair hadn’t been damaged."

She was at a momentary loss for something to say. "I’ve just been lucky, but eventually it would get damaged, and then I’d have to start hacking it off."

Michael somehow got out of this mess, and never brought up the issue again. He did miss the sight of his girlfriend with her hair up, and wondered what she would look like in a wide array of different updos, but certainly didn’t want her to destroy it in the process. And besides, he loved how it looked down the most anyway.

For the next several months things went back to normal for Kim, including at work where she again felt passed over time and again by her boss. However when the home office in New York City was reaching out to each branch for ideas on improving cost efficiency, Dawn gave all the chance to give their input. Those with the strongest ideas would be flown to New York to give their ideas in person. Kim saw this as a great opportunity to not only win points with her boss, but to do something important for the company. Since Michael worked with Investments, he was very good at understanding figures and she enlisted his help. The two came up with a wonderful proposal that not only surprised them in potential savings but in its simplicity. Dawn was extremely impressed with the document, and told Kim it would be the one submitted by their firm.

One month later came the news the Kim’s proposal was one the parent company wanted to act on, and that she and Dawn would be flown into New York the next week to submit it personally and answer any questions. For Kim is would be a stressful week as she needed to at least have written down all the information she could muster in preparation for any question.

Dawn dropped by her desk a few days before they left.

"How are things going for this weekend?"

"Fine. I’ve got everything I need downloaded into my laptop, plus backed up in a notebook, just in case."

"Good thinking. Have you decided what you’re going to wear yet?"

"I was just going to go for my Navy Blue dress outfit, with slacks and a white blouse."

"I’d go for a mid-length skirt instead. Long enough so it doesn’t offend the women, but a little bit more feminine to win over the men. Oh, and make sure you wear your hair up again. Something like you did for New Year’s would be just fine."

This jolted Kim. She had no desire to do that again. She had just recently had her 6-month trim (relieved that no more than usual needed to be taken off, and that no damage could be noted by Jill even under close scrutiny) and had finally put to rest all the inquiries on when she would put it up again.

"I was just planning to have a nice, clean French braid."

"Oh no, dear. Remember this is New York City. We can’t approach them looking like we’re fresh off the farm. Definitely put it up unless….."

Kim had no idea what she was getting at.

"…unless you’d rather cut it to a more… professional length. I’m going in this afternoon to have mine trimmed up. You can join me if you’d like."

Kim couldn’t believe what she’d heard. First off her boss basically just told her, albeit in a polite way, that she didn’t look professional because of her hair. Finally the truth comes out as to why she felt passed over so many times. Then she has the gall to ask if she wanted to come have her hair butchered off with her. My God! Kim just wanted to scream, but instead politely smiled and declined the invitation. Why Dawn would want her own hair any shorter was a mystery in itself. Most men didn’t wear their hair as short as her boss at this moment. Any shorter and she’d be ready for the military.

Try as she might, Dawn looked a little disappointed that her offer was rejected. "Just thought I’d ask. In that case definitely wear it up." And with that she disappeared into her office, the door shutting fairly harshly behind her. She didn’t much like it when her ‘suggestions’ were ignored.

Kim sat trembling for a bit, at a loss. There was no way she’d have her hair cut for this or any occasion, and she had felt the same way about putting it up again. So did she defy her boss twice over on this one, or give in to the lesser of two evils?

She suddenly got lost into a daydream, imagining herself showing up at the plane with her hair in a French braid instead of up as she’d been directed. Flames shot from Dawn’s nostrils and she turned bright red in anger. She grabbed Kim by the braid and literally dragged her across the airport terminal into the small one-chair lobby barber shop. Once there, she grabbed the current customer in the middle of a shave and tossed him out of the chair. He flew through the air and out the door of the shop, knocking down innocent bystanders like bowling pins. Then she lifted Kim up and set her down harshly in the giant worn seat. Kim felt like a little child being led by her mother. She stared in the mirror and noted she was now dressed like a little girl in the same ruffled pink dress she used to wear each week to church on special occasions. For some reason she just sat there as the barber draped a big white robe around her and cinched it tight around her neck.

Dawn looked like a giant demon now, dwarfing even the barber who was trembling in fear at the very sight of her. "Cut her hair short, just like mine, and do it quickly!"

Kim looked at Dawn in shock as her boss was now sporting a military type induction cut, and then turned to the barber in panic. "No! Please! I don’t want it cut at all."

"SILENCE you miserable child!" came the cry from Dawn, smoke billowing from her nostrils. The barber looked confused at what to do.

"Well don’t just stand there. DO IT! DO IT NOW!"

"Y-y-yes Mam," he said, cowering all the time. All the other waiting patrons were fleeing the shop as quickly as they could. Any who lingered too slow were immediately turned to dust by Dawn’s now deadly gaze.

The barber didn’t bother to undo the braid, but just lifted it up as he started running the clippers underneath it at the nape of the neck. Kim felt his painful tug and heard the hairs being sliced yet nothing was falling. Since it was such a perfect French braid it was all staying intact. Kim stared as she watched him lift the braid higher and higher, and felt the clippers now running all the way up the back of her head, then on the crown, then on the upper sides, then around the ears, and finally along the top until finally the whole French braid came off like a giant wig. The barber plopped it in Kim’s lap, and then fled the shop as fast as he could. She held her braid in her hands, horrified by what had just happened, and then looked at her reflection in the mirror. She was shaved bald! All that remained was the tiniest stubble all over. Sitting in this huge chair under the robe she looked like a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.

Dawn was now nearly 10 feet tall, and let out a long, loud, hideous laugh.

Kim looked at her reflection and cried. "My hair. My beautiful hair. It’s all gone."

"…It’s all gone!"

"What’s all gone? Kim, snap out of it!"

It was Carol, one of her co-workers.

"Your hair looks great, like always. What’s wrong?"

"It does?" Kim reached for her pony tail trailing far down her back. She held it tight, never wanting to let it go. "Oh thank God it does!"

"Are you all right?"

"Yeah. Thanks. Bad dream."

"I guess." And with that Carol was on her way.

Kim quickly pulled out her phone book and called "The Bella Donna," making an appointment for the morning before they left for New York. Al though this pained her deeply, she had no desire to see if any of her daydream would become reality. Her hair had survived this endeavor three times. Hopefully it would survive a fourth. She made a point of telling no one of her appointment, especially Michael. Since Dawn would be picking her up to go to the airport, no one else needed to know. At least that way she wouldn’t again have to go through that whole period of answering that magic question, "When are you going to put it up again?"

Kim felt even a bit nauseous as her nostrils were greeted to the harsh scent of hairspray upon walking into The Bella Donna. She truly did not want to be here, but knew she really had no other choice today. Diane remembered her and delivered a genuine and warm ‘Hello.’ As usual her hair was up in another outdated style, heavily teased and shellacked in place. This one almost looked like a Lucille Ball type number (minus the red hair), as it was a huge pompadour on top, pulled back tight on the sides, and an explosion of pinned curls in the back. For some reason Kim’s eyes were drawn to the style, though she was unwilling to admit that Diane wore it wonderfully. Her utter contempt for what she was about to have done to her hair wouldn’t allow it. As she stared at the updo she even felt sorry for the young receptionist’s hair for all the torture it was constantly put through. It was just a matter of time, she was sure, before Diane was doomed to have very short crop.

Gail was also very accommodating, welcoming her almost affectionately. Was it Kim’s imagination or did her Mary Tyler Moore flip seem even more harshly ratted and shellacked than usual?

"I wasn’t sure I would see you again."

"Actually I’m here at my boss’s insistence." She then gave a quick synopsis of what was going on that required her hair to be done yet again.

"So I take it we’re doing that same French twist again?"

Kim nodded. "If there’s any way you could tease and spray it less that would be appreciated."

"I believe I’ve only done what’s necessary in the past. I haven’t damaged your hair thus far have I?"

"No, you haven’t."

"Let’s get you shampooed then." Gail had dodged giving Kim the answer she desperately wanted to hear. It was clear her mane was in for the same torture as in the past, doomed to leave here a knotted helmet of hair. With weak knees Kim followed Gail back to begin the whole ugly procedure once again.

It wasn’t long before Kim was again staring at the reflection of her long tresses rolled up in the giant curlers. She was so sure that this time would prove to be the undoing of her hair that she started feeling stresses and strains to her mane that weren’t even there. For instance, she was sure it was wrapped too tight, almost trying to yank the roots right out of her head. She was also sure the dryer was too hot, baking the strands so badly they would surely either break off or melt. As the curlers came out she didn’t stop to appreciate how lovely she looked with a full head of long waves. She was just dreading what was to come. The teasing comb dug in, seemingly much harder than she recalled, and try as she could she couldn’t hide her eyes from watching the long lovely sections being transformed into a sea of knots. She was sure it was even worse this time around. Gail soon blinded Kim by tossing the finished sections forward again over her eyes, but it didn’t stop her tears from flowing or her nerves from trembling. As she felt the last sections ratted to match the rest, she was sure this time only a pair of scissors would ever get the tangles out.

Gail didn’t give her the opportunity to see how much it had been teased. She just started in on the French Twist, leaving the blinding curtain of hair where it was.

‘Was it so severely ratted she wouldn’t even let me see?’ Kim thought. That was surely it, and more tears flowed as she felt the back being twisted in place, and soon the hairspray canister could be heard.

"Would it be possible to use less spray this time? I only need it to stay up through the day, and then I’m going to take it down tonight."

"Didn’t you say you were flying to New York first?"

"Well, yes."

"Unfortunately flying is absolute hell on hair. I’ll probably need to use a little extra just to be safe."

Kim didn’t know what to say. She did trust that Gail knew what she was talking about, so she held her opinions to herself and said nothing. But with each blast of spray she heard (or felt!) she cringed at what would surely prove the demise of her once glorious head of hair.

The torture session was soon over as the now almost familiar sight of the French Twist stared back at Kim, but not before a long last heavy layer of spray coated every strand. Once again it looked nearly black in color from so much product. It also looked a bit… higher than she remembered. She didn’t remember it so clearly being a bouffant, but it looked like one today. (Actually this too was a product of her fears fueling her imagination. It was absolutely identical to both previous times she wore this style.) Kim had managed to dry her eyes before Gail could see her tears, but the deep red circles surely gave her away.

She thanked (although none too convincingly) and paid Gail, again with a generous tip for fitting her in on such short notice. Then she quickly said goodbye to Diane (again noting her updo, and feeling sorry for her) and was soon out the door. She was fighting back tears as she opened up her car door. But as soon as she sat down, noted her reflection in the rear-view mirror and touched her tresses only to be met by the stiff protective shell of spray the tears flowed freely again. She had been lucky three times. This time she would not be so lucky.

The trip to the airport was longer than usual, as the traffic seemed heavy and she caught every light. At least it allowed her to recollect herself, dry her eyes and look presentable by the time she met Dawn at the baggage counter. She wasn’t hard to miss as her hair had been ‘trimmed.’ "Buzzed’ was probably a better word, thought Kim, as it was now not only clippered extremely short on the sides and back but the top was hardly more than an inch long, and looked thick with gel. Kim didn’t find it at all flattering and much too masculine.

When Dawn saw Kim wearing the mid length Navy skirt, with her hair up, she nodded her approval.

"Very nice. Let’s just hope your hairdo survives the trip."

Kim tried her best to smile graciously in spite of the line. But inside she was screaming by her bosses sarcastic putdown of her long hair.

"Oh, I’m sure it will. There’s enough hair spray on it to survive almost anything." The images of the awful spray being caked on her lovely hair came flashing back again almost making Kim feel nauseous. Dawn just made a face at her, almost like she was disappointed in the answer she had been given.

Prior to boarding the plane Kim visited the ladies room. It contained a full-length mirror, and Kim spent more than a moment studying her image. She had to admit that her boss was right about one thing. The combination of the mid-length skirt and her hair up was far more mature and professional looking than the look she had originally planned. It was a bitter pill to swallow. She touched her hair out of instinct, snapped back into reality by the helmet that greeted her hand. She pulled her hand hard and fast to her side as she went out to the plane.

Conversation between the two was strictly professional, covering all the ins and outs of the proposal. At first Dawn came across almost like a bully, trying to find something that Kim was not prepared for. As the grilling went on and on and it became obvious Kim was very well prepared for the day ahead, Dawn started warming up. She was proud that this woman was representing her firm. She was very good. By the time the plane was beginning it’s descent, she was even complimentary.

"Thank you for taking my advice with your dress and hair. I think you’re going to knock them dead."

Once again came that dig at her hair. Kim could take it no longer.

"You don’t like long hair, do you?!"

It took Dawn by surprise, and immediately put her on the defensive. "Why would you say that?"

"It seems kind of obvious to me. Some of the things you say, and the looks you give me."

Dawn looked away from her, not sure whether to tell the truth or just be politically correct. But this was a sensitive issue, more than Kim could know.

"Actually, I’m kind of … envious of your hair."

Kim just looked at her incredulously. This was the last thing she expected to hear. Dawn faced her once again as she talked, her eyes slightly moist.

"The fact is I used to have long hair too, when I was younger."

Kim couldn’t imagine this. "How long?"

"About to here." She pointed to a spot nearly to her waist. "It wasn’t as long or healthy as yours, but I adored it. However when I got into the work force times were different. Women in upper management was very rare, and men didn’t want to deal with us. Only by looking more masculine were we remotely taken seriously. So my boss told me if I wanted to be promoted my hair had to go. Not just a trim, but something short like a man. And so I cut it, crying all the time. I don’t think my eyes dried for days. But my boss was right, because it made a difference in how I was perceived and how effective I was. And so I’ve kept it short ever since."

"Don’t you think times have changed enough that we’re past that now?"

"Not entirely, no. I don’t think a woman has to wear her hair as short as mine to be taken seriously, but there are professional looks and non-professional looks…

"…and my hair is not a professional look."

"As long as it is…. No. It’s not."

Kim just stared straight ahead, unsure of what to say next.

"So you don’t take me seriously as a professional because of how long my hair is?"

"That’s not true. I take you quite seriously. The fact you are in this plane right now with me should prove that. I’m just not sure how seriously our customers, or potential customers, look upon you."

"Because I have long hair!?"

"Because of how you present yourself. A client wants a professional, not a cheerleader. For example, I think you look every bit the consummate professional right now. Personally I wish you’d adopt this look on a daily basis. I think you’d be much more productive."

Kim sat quietly, soaking this all in. It was hard to hear, but at least now she knew what before she could only assume. She wanted the subject to change, but Dawn wasn’t done yet.

"If I may, why don’t you adopt a look like this for work?"

"I guess I could tone down my clothes fairly easily. I just thought people liked bright colors. I thought it would… brighten their day. But I couldn’t possibly wear my hair like this every day to work."

"Why not? It seems easy enough to just pin it up."

"Not with all my hair. This had to be done by a stylist, and every time I have it done it damages my hair (she lied, though not intentionally but out of her beliefs)."

"Well in that case thank you for making the effort for today. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices for your job."

Dawn left it at that as the wheels of the plane touched down. But to Kim the challenge had been put to her. Was she willing to make a sacrifice for her job? She figured she could handle the wardrobe change, though it meant going on a bit of a shopping spree for clothes she really didn’t want in the first place. It would be difficult to see her savings spent that way. But she was adamant that she wasn’t going to cut her hair or watch it get destroyed by becoming a regular of the salon just to appease her boss. At least on that point she would never back down. If it made a slight difference in her ‘productivity’ (which she really didn’t think it did) then so be it.

The plane landed uneventfully and the two women immediately visited the ladies room upon landing. Kim scrutinized herself carefully in the mirror, reapplying some lipstick. Her French Twist looked pristine. Obviously Gail had used enough hairspray to do the job. She patted it lightly, concerned that it felt even stiffer now than when she left the shop that morning. She wasn’t looking forward to tonight when she took her style down, and all the damage she was sure to discover.

Once they gathered their baggage they were met by a company car which would shuttle them to the business meeting, and then later to their hotel.

The presentation couldn’t have been smoother, and the room full of ‘suits’ were obviously impressed not only with Kim’s ideas but with her. Dawn beamed, happy to stay in the shadows and let her young employee enjoy the spotlight. While at first Kim was nervous about being in a room of so many important people, in the end she almost was sorry the presentation was over. Afterwards in a short reception she was the center of attention in a totally professional manner she had never really experienced before. These men weren’t looking to ‘hit’ on her, but rather treated her as an equal or even superior, trying to learn and share knowledge with her. She couldn’t remember ever enjoying a luncheon more. In fact two members of the board asked if they could accompany the ladies in the morning for breakfast before their flight as they had another engagement they had to leave for but had more questions to ask. Dawn asked that they meet in the hotel’s restaurant at 7 A.M. (their flight left just shy of noon).

On the shuttle to the hotel, Dawn was an endless stream of compliments. She was totally impressed by the way Kim had performed.

"You have the opportunity to go far in this field if you really want it." Kim could tell she was absolutely serious too. She smiled. "Thank you." Then she leaned back against the big seat and pressed her head back into the chair. She immediately felt the unfamiliar sensation of her French Twist pushing against the back of her scalp. She recoiled and touched it, wondering if it was now mussed up. But the thick shield of spray hadn’t allowed that in the slightest. How horrible it felt! Now her mind was off her recent success and she couldn’t wait to get to her room and restore her hair so it once again flowed freely down her back. Her dread that this time it wouldn’t survive the torture returned.

No sooner had they settled in their hotel room than Kim was quickly pulling the pins out of her hair. It seemed so incredibly stiff from all the spray, and she was sure it was teased more heavily this time. Even after all the pins were removed she had a difficult time unraveling the Twist. It looked absolutely horrible and she was trembling as she stepped into the shower. However less than an hour later she had successfully detangled the entire length yet again, seemingly without any struggles. In fact it had been easier today than she remembered. She hoped she hadn’t worked too fast and damaged the hair shafts in the process. She wouldn’t be certain until the morning when it was dry.

The two ladies had an early wake-up call for their breakfast appointment, but Kim was awake before the phone sounded out. It had been a restless evening worrying what she would find when she studied her hair that morning. However once again she could find absolutely no signs of the carnage she expected. Try as she may she could find absolutely no harm whatsoever. She stared at it in total disbelief. Had she just been lucky yet again? Was her hair just unbelievably durable and in such great shape that it could handle this harsh treatment every once in a while? Or was it the unthinkable, that Gail actually did it in such a way that it truly wasn’t bad for her hair? She couldn’t imagine ever being able to accept such a bold statement. But it was hard to deny the evidence flowing beautifully down her back.

"Aren’t you going to wear your hair up for our breakfast?" Dawn asked.

"No, I thought I’d just leave it down this morning. It hurts to wear it up." (Another lie. Just who was she kidding?)

"I really think you ought to at least French braid it or something."

Although reluctant, Kim put it in a loose French braid, hardly noticeable unless seen from the back. She did wear her business attire from the previous day though, with a different blouse this time.

Howard and Paul were waiting for the two ladies in the lobby.

"Good morning Dawn," Howard called out. "Where’s Kim?"

Kim’s eyes opened wide as she realized this was no joke. Although she was standing next to her boss he didn’t even recognize her.

"I’m a…. right here," she said politely, raising her hand.

Both men stared at her dumbfounded, amazed that this young girl in front of them was the same lady who so impressed them the previous day.

"I’m sorry. It’s just you look so totally….different today," said Paul. He hadn’t realized she was so young. He wondered if she was even 21 years old yet.

Breakfast was a totally frustrating experience for Kim, as she felt totally ignored. All the questions were being asked of her boss when they should have been addressed to her. What’s more, when she did speak up and offer an answer she felt it was immediately discarded or perhaps never even heard. She felt invisible.

Once back in the room Kim took out her French braid, wanting to just let her hair hang free for the day almost as an act of apology to it for all she had put it through the day before. Then the two ladies packed their bags for the trip home.

Dawn could tell Kim was very irked by the way she had been treated at breakfast. She had noticed the different behavior of the two men every bit as much as Kim. But in this case it supported her views.

"Still think it doesn’t make a difference how you wear your hair in front of clients?"

Kim just stared at her. She had been in total denial that her hairstyle was the difference this morning. "You noticed they treated me differently this morning too?"

"It was obvious, and quite rude. But it does kind of support my point."

"And you think that was just because of my hair?"

"It was the only difference from yesterday. You were wearing the same outfit. They treated me the same. But yesterday they were dealing with a ‘professional’ and today…."

"…a cheerleader," Kim said, saying it before Dawn could.

On the flight home the two hardly talked. Dawn was doing some reading and listening to the headphones provided by the airline. Kim listened to the music too, her hair draped forward of her shoulder. She was constantly inspecting it, almost hoping to find some damage to support her long-held beliefs regarding what was good vs. bad for her hair. She couldn’t find any. In fact it was probably a mistake to wear it down on this plane, as she was constantly on guard of snagging it or getting it tugged or pulled. Halfway through the flight she went to the restroom and put it into a French braid. At least that way she wouldn’t have to worry so about it for the remainder of the trip.

Once back on the plane, with the sounds of a melodic symphony running through her head, she fell asleep.

Kim sat in her huge new office, fitting for a Vice-President. It was beautiful, adorned with numerous plaques and awards she had won on her way up to the top of her profession. She was on the phone finishing up yet another sale. It had been another good day, and she kicked off her shoes and put her feet up on the desk to relax for a bit. Dawn rang for her, offering her congratulations for her success that day, and told her to take the rest of the day off. She had earned it. Kim thanked her and gathered her attaché and purse and headed for the door. She quickly glanced in the mirror at her reflection, then immediately did a double take, eyes wide in shock. Her hair was up in a French Twist, but an absolutely huge one. The top had been teased so badly it rose a good six inches above her head, and the Twist itself was a huge fat wad of grotesque knots that rose high above her head. It looked almost comical. Peg Bundy never wore her hair so…’big’. She dropped her bags and touched the updo, immediately starting to tremble as she felt nothing that remotely resembled human hair. It was like feeling a motorcycle helmet, as it had been so horribly sprayed it was absolutely rock-hard.

Kim drove home as fast as she could, ignoring all speed limits. As she headed down the hallway to her bathroom she stopped. It was adorned with photos of herself at different important functions and standing next to other dignitaries. There were even framed newspaper articles, complete with photos, showing her accepting different awards, etc… In every one she was wearing the same, outlandish hairdo.

She ran into the bathroom and stared at her hair. It seemed even higher now, and even more thoroughly ratted. She quickly pulled out the pins. They put up quite a fight, and some even took clumps of hair out with them. She was crying now, as all the pins were out yet the updo hadn’t budged. She stepped in the shower, hopeful that the water, shampoo, and conditioner would do the trick. It eventually unraveled, but felt so different. It didn’t hang as far down her back now as it was a mass of knots. The drain was clogged with a huge handful of long, broken hairs. By now she was nearly hysterical.

She stepped from the shower and gently toweled it off. However even more broken hairs were noticeable sticking to the cloth as she returned the towel to it’s rack. She sat down on her favorite chair and started the long process of ‘unteasing.’ This took several hours and several handfuls of broken tresses lie on the floor before she was done. It took so long it was basically dry by the time she finished. She noticed the ends looked horrible. Her hair was usually as thick at the ends as at the roots. It wasn’t now. Right now it was in such poor shape it kept thinning out more and more until the ends, which now didn’t even reach her waist (a good 6 inches shorter than it should be), were just a fraction of what they should be. She ran to the bathroom again and looked at her image. Her hair looked horrendous. There was so much breakage that haggard, bent shafts were sticking out in all directions, many only a few inches in length. It seemed extremely thin now, and there looked to be patches of scalp showing in a few places. It also looked stripped of all shine and life. On closer inspection she noted every shaft was splitting, and the split ends ran clear to the roots. Her once glorious mane was now absolutely destroyed. Rather than being her crowning glory, it now looked like a cheap, worn out, Halloween wig for the Wicked Witch of the West.

Shell-shocked, she wandered into her kitchen and poured herself a glass of water, then glanced at her calendar as she took a sip. The glass fell to the floor and shattered as she took in what she saw. Marked on her calendar, every morning of the week (except Sunday’s) were the words:

8:30 A.M.: Bella Donna- have hair done

She removed the calendar from the wall and looked at the months that had just passed. Every day it seems she had gone to the salon and had her hair done. As she studied the calendar she was lovingly running her hand down the length of her tresses over and over again. Suddenly she looked at her hand, and noticed it was covered with broken shafts, and the floor was now covered with a small pile of hair that had broken and fallen just from this simple act. She stared at her mane, noting that every time it moved more broke off. With that realization Kim let out a loud scream.

The jolt of the plane touching down on the runway snapped Kim awake. She was breathing hard and sweating. Dawn stared at her.

"I didn’t realize you had such a problem with flying."

Kim looked around, getting her bearings back, and felt her thick French Braid falling forward of her shoulder. It was fine. It had all been a nightmare. A horrible, horrible nightmare. She lovingly caressed her mane. That was a nightmare she had no intention of ever allowing to come true.


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