It could be a sweltering evening in July, or a cold January morning. It could be triggered by a mid-life crises, or maybe it’s a reward for getting rid of your most recent significant other. Or maybe you just got up one morning, looked in the mirror, and decided you were in need of a change. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain – in less than two hours, there will be a whole new you.
Now you’re excited. Your heart is echoing in your ears as you jump in your car and Nascar off to the store. Adrenaline is pumping. Your veins are practically busting through your skin. This is the next Kodak moment of your life – something you’ve always wanted to do, but could never find the courage to actualize.
Finally, you’re in the parking lot. You luck into a decent spot for once – a good omen. This was meant to be. You fly through sliding glass doors, suddenly stop. What if someone sees you buying it? They’ll laugh. You’ll be mortified.
No. It’s too late to turn back. You cannot have second thoughts now or the adventure will be over before it begins. You move forward, more hesitantly now, but still forward. Be casual, maybe a little sneaky even. Don’t draw attention, ensure no one sees you.
You become a secret agent about to penetrate enemy lines. First you take a slow stroll through the aspirin aisle – careful not to rush. A quick 360° check for ambush and you duck behind a mountain of hairspray bottles (the environmentally friendly kind, of course). The coast is clear. You hurry past the shampoo. Almost there. One last right at the end of the row of hairbrushes lands you smack dab in the center of – yes, you finally made it to – the hair color aisle.
So many choices. You hesitate only a moment before scanning row after row of boxes and bottles and powder-mixing concoctions, all while still keeping lookout for anyone who might blow your cover. Finally, you see it. The box you were looking for. You grab it and head for the checkout counter, keeping it close to your chest, out of on-looking eyelines. Silently you pray your brother’s ex-girlfriend is not working the express line today, sighing with relief when you realize she is not. You are still safe.
You check out. Hand over your money, explain that this is for your mother, before making your way back to the car.
By the time you get home, your excitement has reached a new level of frenzy. You completely decapitate box top in effort to get at precious contents. Your eyes glaze over, you stare in stunned awe at the bizarre array of space-age, monster-movie paraphernalia now dumped across bathroom countertop. Perforated rubber bathing cap. Check. Strange crochet needle thingy. Check. Foul-smelling packets of blue powder that supposedly will not burn your scalp. Check. Miniature shampoo bottle full of fouler-smelling liquid. Check. Dispensing tube with alleged “twist off cap” that you are sure will require scissors at least, maybe even pliers. Check. One pair surgical gloves. Surgical gloves? You take a deep breath. Check.
Relax, don’t panic. If all those over-hyped, helium-headed, peroxide queens on TV can do this, so can you. It really can’t be that hard. Follow the instructions carefully. Step by step. Coloring your hair will be as easy as dying an Easter egg. You’ll have perfectly streaked hair in no time, honest. And just remember: You’re worth it.
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com. She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals for Kind of a Hurricane Press ( www.kindofahurricanepress.com ). Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000191382454 and https://twitter.com/#!/poetess222.