lockenwickler / curler

Doris flipped the visor mirror of her 1995 Toyota Camry back into place. She gripped the steering wheel and pressed her forehead into her knuckles. Behind the front door of her home, shrill terrier yips beat a cadence loud enough to reach inside her driveway-parked car. She had to face it: this wasn’t going to get any easier.

The unfamiliar feeling of cool air against her neck surprised her again—just as it had when she left the hair salon that afternoon. Stepping out of her car, she shook her head, scattering waves of chemical fragrance, then shut the car door and locked it. Her Saturday trip to the Anita Cut Salon for a high school reunion “update” turned out to be a lesson on the danger of spontaneity. The moment she walked into the salon she felt a warning twitch in her right eyelid but gave it no heed as Jac-Qua-Lyn rushed her toward a chartreuse plastic chair. The neat bundle of inspiration photos landed on the floor and was soon buried under long strands of straight brown hair only barely streaked with gray. When the glib stylist announced, “Reveal Time!” and slung the chair toward the mirror, a slightly younger version of Edith Bunker looked back, and she knew her astonished expression perfectly complimented the look.

Five hours later and one hundred dollars poorer, a wiser Doris climbed the steps to her front door. Twinkie’s nose brushed her foot when she stepped inside; at least the dog was always glad to see her. Doris pocketed the car keys and bent to greet her suddenly silent pet. Confusion twisted Twinkie’s wiry brow, and he backed away instead of jumping into her arms for kisses. With loud whimpers, he turned tail and fled to his favorite hiding place under the dining room table.

Doris straightened under the bewildered gaze of her husband. “Well? What do you think of my hair?” She raised a hand to touch the ends of her hair, but her searching fingers brushed the new stubble on her neck instead.

His eyebrows floated toward his hairline. “Ummmm … ” He blinked hard once, no, twice—there—three times. “ Well … do you like it?” He swallowed and blinked again. “I mean, is that what you … wanted?”

Twinkie slunk forward to cautiously re-investigate her shoe and identify the frowzy impostor.

“Yes,” she squeaked in a voice that even she didn’t recognize. Giving her now-damp foot a sharp flick, she choked, “It’s exactly what I wanted.”


Meet the Author

Susan Holt SimpsonSusan Holt Simpson is a freelance writer living in Kentucky with her husband, three mostly-grown sons, and a geriatric dog. She’s been published by Focus on the Family, Guideposts blog, and her work appears in various short story collections. When Susan’s not writing, you can find her in the garden with either a hoe or a camera in hand. Visit her blog, Sweet Annabelle, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.





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