Thursday, May 3, 2012


Cold scissors.

They brush the nape of my neck, and I flinch.

“Hold still!”

Jane’s voice attempts to reprimand me, but the giddiness in her tone gives her away, and we are both barely able to keep our giggles contained. I still can’t believe I have talked her into doing this.  Our secret.  For now.

She smoothes her chemise, takes a deep breath and pushes my head forward.  My chin touches the hollow of my throat.

“If you don’t hold still, I can’t cut straight.”

At the word cut, second thoughts take shape.  A bit too late, though.  Already, wet, brown curls litter the floor.

“I’m almost finished, Bernice.  Sit up straight, and I’ll check to see if the two sides are even.  Oh, it looks keen!”

I imagine I hear admiration in her voice-colored with a touch of envy, too.   For me. The reckless sister.  And what I’ve done.

She rakes a comb through the length of my hair.  A much shorter distance than before.

The scissors are still cold.  Out of the corner of my eye I can see the blades. They touch my chin. Snip.  More combing. Snip, snip.

“Did you shingle it in the back?” I ask.

“I don’t know how.  You need to go to a barber to have that done.  Maybe after mother and father get over their initial shock, mother will let you go.”

“Jane, what about you?” I am teasing her now.  “Do you want me to bob your hair too?” I know what she’ll say.  

She answers with an  impish grin as she steps around to face me,  pulling off the wide brimmed hat I assumed was keeping her long hair in check. She reveals golden strands that  end at her jaw line.

Jane. The quiet one.  Never reckless. 

For once, I am at a loss for words.  I feel like a mountain climber, drunk on victory, only to be told that someone else has reached the summit first.

Jane is grinning, waiting for me to say something. Scissors held indifferently in her hand.

Cold, I imagine.

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