Daily Prompt: Stranger

Daily Prompt: Stranger.

I’m trying something a little new today: writing a blurb based on a prompt. This one stuck out to me, because I love random encounters that leave a lasting impression.

I never liked going to Hair Cuttery. I have a few distinct memories of coming home after a hair cut, looking in the mirror at the atrocity framing my face, and wanting to crawl in a hole. When I was a freshman in high school, I had this great idea: I’m gonna get my hair cut like this professionally-styled, blonde model with a petite face and little eyes that scream “Blue Steel.” Because I don’t ever style my hair (ever), I’m a lanky brunette with big eyes, and I don’t think anything can go wrong! Some might say it was sweet how optimistic I was. I say it was just a terrible idea, but there’s not much you can do besides wait once the hairdresser starts snipping.

Once my hair grew out and I managed to crawl out of my figurative hole of shame a number of years later, I heard my youngest sister telling our mom that she wanted to try something edgy with her hair for the end of the school year. Being the great big sister I am (with the knowledge of what can go wrong when you get a little too brave), I offered to be the one to take her.

While I sat and waited, I caught myself watching this child get her hair cut on a booster seat. I assumed she was with the older woman sitting to my left, who was engrossed in a magazine. I noticed she wasn’t dressed like a typical suburban parent, so when I heard her speak to the other child with her, I wasn’t surprised to hear a thick accent. I’m not one to react subtly to things like accents- I full on cheesy smiled. I guess that caught her attention, because she then turned to me and asked, “Are you on holiday?” It took me a few seconds, but I replied, “Oh, sort of. I’m home from school for the week.” She asked a few more questions, to which I explained I was going to a school in central Illinois and that I was studying English Writing. That peaked her interest, “Oh lovely! And what’re you going to do with that? Teach?” “No, I’d like to be a writer.” “Have you been to Ireland?” “Is that where you’re from?” “Yes,” she smiled and nodded at me. “I haven’t, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. That would be such a great trip to take.” “Ah yes, well all the best writers visit Ireland.”

When the woman at the desk called my last name to pay for my sister, “Conway?” I stood up, but not before I heard the woman next to me say, “Ah, and you’re Irish, are ya not?”

I haven’t seen this woman since I left Hair Cuttery that day, but I still think of her every once in a while. And to be honest, I appreciate her for a few reasons: 1. she was a total stranger and super chatty with me, 2. she took interest in my desire to be a writer, 3. she made me want to visit Ireland. I still haven’t gotten around to it, but when I do, I (not so) secretly hope I’ll bump into her there.

And in case you were wondering, my sister’s new hair turned out fantastic. I guess that’s the perks of being the baby of the family– all of your genes have it figured out after a few prior attempts (see: older sister, myself, and other younger sister).

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