Beryl was sitting still, only the tapping of her foot showing her impatience. She’d made an appointment last week for a hair cut, and she wasn’t happy when she arrived at the salon to find that Fiona, the lass who normally did her hair, was not there. Apparently some young bit of a girl who looked barely older than her granddaughters was going to take care of her. She’d seen the girl on previous visits and wasn’t impressed by her choice of clothing or her manner. Beryl had a catch-up with some girlfriends planned for tomorrow and if her hair wasn’t looking like a mess, she’d have rescheduled.
The girl wasn’t anywhere to be seen. ‘She’s due back from lunch at two o’clock. It won’t be too long a wait.’
Well, now it was nearly five past and still no sign of the girl. Beryl looked about, watching the other customers being attended to as conversations swirled around the salon as scissors flashed and hair cascaded onto the soft pink gowns. Beryl wondered idly where all the discarded hair ended up. It was a question that one of the grandkids would ask and she permitted herself a brief smile at the thought of them. Cheeky monkeys. They seemed bolder and brighter than her own children had been, but perhaps that was because she had more time to enjoy them.
‘Beryl? Sorry to keep you.’
Beryl clicked her tongue and stood up, following the girl to the chair. Once seated, a gown was draped around her shoulders and tightened a little roughly for her liking. She was going to say something but the girl had stepped away. Beryl looked at her reflection in the mirror, seeing the look for churlishness on her own face. She tried to relax. The girl had to be competent. The salon certainly charged enough for style cuts.
‘So what are you after today, Beryl?’
Beryl felt a flash of irritation. The girl wasn’t wearing a name badge and though they’d mentioned her name when she arrived, it had slipped from her mind. ‘Just a tidy, thank you. Fiona usually just neatens everything up.’
Beryl looked at the girl in the mirror, but already she seemed to be thinking of something else. Then there were a couple of squirts of scented water falling upon her head and Beryl surrendered as her hair was combed and the scissors started to trim. She’d been looking forward to seeing Fiona. Fiona had been cutting her hair for ages and they had enough in common to keep the conversation going. They even exchanged Christmas cards. Beryl tried to think if anyone else had cut her hair in recent years, but it seemed unlikely. It was always Fiona.
There was music playing in the background, and Beryl started to tap out the beat with her foot. She couldn’t help it. There was something about music that drew her in, even if it was music that she’d never heard before. Her husband used to tease her about it, saying that the only musical bones she had in her body were her rhythmic feet as she couldn’t hold a tune or play an instrument. Beryl looked in the mirror again, seeking the hairdresser’s eyes, but the girl was dipping and diving, moving with intensity behind her. Beryl looked closer, just in case she had imagined it. But no, she was right. The scissors were being wielded to the tempo, the snips matching the music and the tapping of Beryl’s foot.
The next song was faster and the girl moved with it. Beryl watched in fascination as her hair tumbled, white wisps dancing in time as the blades flashed. For a minute or so she closed her eyes, enjoying the rhythmic pulse of the music and the quick bites of the scissors. She felt a joyousness that was unexpected and sweet.
A soft tap on her shoulder brought her back. Beryl opened her eyes and looked at her reflection. Her eyes widened as she saw that her hair was cut differently to what Fiona would have done. The girl was brushing away cut strands of hair from Beryl’s neck. Then she held up a mirror, showing Beryl the back of her head. It was definitely shorter than Fiona’s usual cut, but it looked good. Beryl nodded slowly. She had to admit that it suited her face and she tilted her head to take in the effect. Beryl met the girl’s eyes at last and gave her a grin.
Instinctively, Beryl walked in time to the beat of the music as she stepped out of the salon, feeling lighter than she had in a long time.