Looking in the bathroom mirror, I say aloud to myself, “At 53, I should be able to do this.” Then, sighing and shaking my head, a memory breaks free.
At the age of 7, I cajoled my dad into cutting my bangs for a school picture the next day. My manly father finally caved in, knowing mom – doing shift work at the hospital – would be home too late that night and then be too tired in the morning.
Admonishing me to sit still and tall, he got out my mom’s best sewing shears. I sat ramrod straight in the kitchen table chair. Kneeling down in front of me and assessing the job, his eyes were serious and his brow furrowed. I stared back with all the confidence in the world.
I remember the scent of his Old Spice as he brought the scissors up to my face. “Not too much, dad,” I cautioned. “And straight across. It’ll be easy.”
“Darn, I was kinda thinking of a paintbrush in front,” he teased, but he still looked concerned.
Second thoughts on my part? Not really, even though I knew this was a guy who couldn’t have helped me with a ponytail. This was just a quick trim and my dad was a master with tools.
Lots of combing, lots of small cuts as I watched snippets of hair fall before my eyes.
He took his time to get it right, but my concentration waned as I contemplated my next move. I had to get my outfit ready, although I knew I’d wear my favorite checkered blue and green dress.
Finally, Dad sighed as he brushed stray hairs off my face.
“Are you done?” I asked, ready to move on to the next task.
“Yep, go look in the mirror and see what you think.”
I ran to the bathroom, flipped on the light and checked my reflection. Wrinkling my brows, I tilted my head slightly to the left as realization dawned. My dad had precision cut my bangs straight across while I’d sat there quietly, thinking, with my head tilted to the left. With my head straight, however, my bangs had a marked incline from the right to the left. I felt hot tears gathering.
My dad had followed me and watched anxiously from the doorway. “Will that work?”
I blinked several times, put my arms around him and told him he’d done the best job ever. After all, he’d done exactly what I’d asked.
While I didn’t trade a single picture that year, I treasure the photo and the memory.
Now, looking back at my reflection, I notice my head is tilting to the left. I realize that, in my case anyway, this will always be a job better left to the professionals. Where’s that salon number?