Short Fiction: My Mother’s Hair*

*You can read the first scene, “My Mother’s Alzheimer’s”, in the Stories section of this blog.

“What would you like to do with your hair, Alise?” The stylist, Sandra, asked.

“Well, I want a change. I was thinking of getting a different haircut. It’s long enough for layers now, right?”

“But it’s so beautiful this way,” Sandra commented, shuffling her fingers through Alise’s hair.

Alise sighed. “I know, but I want a change. I haven’t really done much after my mother passed away.”

“Very well, then. Give me a few minutes till I finish with this customer, and I’ll be right with you.”

“Sure, I have nothing else to do today.”

Alise took a seat on the sofa and grabbed a magazine from the coffee table. She was flipping through it when a woman and a little girl with curly bright red hair walked in. The girl must have been around six years old.

Alise closed the magazine and placed it on her lap. She stared at the little girl watching her mother pick out a color to die her hair from the book of hair colors.

“I think you should have red hair like me, Mama,” the little girl said.

The mother laughed. “Well, I could use a change from the honey brown I usually get.” She placed a kiss on the little girl’s cheek and nodded to the stylist. “Yeah, we’re going red.”

It was then that Alise remembered the time she went to the salon with her mother. She was five at the time, and her mother had woken her up that Saturday morning.

“Alise, baby, want to come with Mama to do her hair?”

Alise had rubbed her eyes. “Can I do mine?” Her mother smiled at her. “We can have them make you a hair-do. What do you think?”

“Sure, Mama,” Alise replied. Hand in hand, they walked into the mall and into the salon. Alise and her mother were greeted by the stylist. “What can I help you girls with?”

“Well, I want to do something different with my hair,” Alise’s mother said.

“What were you thinking?”

“Well,” Alise’s mother looked at Alise. “I’ll do whatever Alise thinks is pretty.”

Alise  grinned from ear to ear that day. “Anything?”

“Anything, baby.”

Alise thought of how her mother started crying as the stylists were fixing her hair. “You don’t like it, Mama?”

“Of course, I do.”

“Then, why are you crying?”

Alise didn’t remember what her mother had said to reassure her that day, but when she was old enough to understand, her mother would tell her that she thought it would be her last time ever to do her hair. Earlier that month, Alise’s mother was diagnosed with gastric cancer. It was still in its early stages, but she was going to have to undergo chemotherapy. Her hair, she had told Alise years later, was going to be controlled by chemotherapy. So, that Saturday, one week before she would start treatment, she wanted to have one last say as to what would happen to her hair.

“Alise, I’m ready for you,” Sandra, the stylist called.

Alise smiled at the woman and the girl with the red hair, put the magazine on the coffee table and followed Sandra’s voice.






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