“A relationship coach?” she said, “Really? That’s cool.”
I smiled, not sure how to respond.
Luckily, she came to my rescue before the silence got awkward.
“I just knew you were some kind of teacher,” she said, scrutinizing the dye swatches. “You’re, like, teacherly. But not stuck up. Relationship coach, I like that.”
There wasn’t enough coffee left this morning, she said, and she had to get up early to come in to the salon to see clients. So she brewed as much as they had left and only took a half cup for herself.
“I knew I could get the free stuff when I got in here. Just needed enough to un-zombie-fy myself, y’know?”
” I do,” I said.
She said her boyfriend got up a few minutes later. Saw there was only a quarter pot or so left. Snapped at her for drinking all the coffee.
“I was just trying to be nice,” she said, “Why do you think he did that?”
Two hours later, I left the salon laughing.
That morning I’d been dreading the hair appointment. Going to the hairdresser has always made me anxious because while I can do small talk, I hate it, and it exhausts me.
After a series of hits and misses, I had finally found a stylist I meshed with. She had a warm, slow sincere smile. Sort of hip and dorky at once. Pretty gray-violet hair. A kind of messy-neat aesthetic that I felt was something I could maybe one day reach if I kept at it.
But this time I needed a visit on a different day than Gray-Violet normally worked. And so they set me up with this new stylist.
And I’d been so worried that the time would drag, that I’d get someone who judged me for letting my hair air dry and not blow drying it. Forget about hair gel. Or a diffuser (Gray-Violet really tried to educate me, bless her heart). Or that she’d be someone whose anxiety would amplify my own and mine hers in an endless feedback loop.
Black-Garnet was fantastic. In some ways, she was an even better personality fit. And a relationship coach herself. She had learned a lot from chatting people up when they sat in her chair.
And it didn’t hurt that she reminded me a bit of my fantastic metamour Sika.
As I walked circles around the parking lot waiting for Skyspook to pick me up, I marveled at how life keeps teaching me my own lessons. The thing I’d been dreading? It turned out well. Martin was again full of lies.
“Remember,” I said to myself, “It will all come out in the wash. It’s just a matter of exactly what shade it will turn out.”