Saturday Morning Serial – Kharma’s Way – Post 1 (Transformation)

Post #1 (Transformation)

“Well, well, who’ve we got here?  I almost gave up on you.  Jaime Watkins, right?” Sarena Hawke teased as she approached me, eyes focused on my curly blonde mess of hair that had grown past my shoulders.

 “Sorry I’m late,” I muttered, dropping my stuffed shoulder bag on the floor.  “I know it’s been ages since my last cut, but thanks for waiting on me anyway.”

 “You moving out or in?” Sarena asked, staring at the bag.

 I paused.  “Neither, really.  It’s just a new outfit to wear after you work your magic.”  Sarena held the title of best hair dresser in Santa Fe and had the awards to prove it.  I was betting on her making me a new woman.  She just didn’t know it yet.

 “So what’s it going to be?” Sarena asked as soon as I sat in the styling chair.  “About an inch off the length and some highlights?”

 “Actually, I’m looking for more of a change.  Color me auburn with a chin-length bob.  Straight.”

 Sarena gasped.  “Oh dear child, you can’t be serious!”

 I chuckled because Sarena only had four years on me and at thirty-nine, I was hardly a child.

 “There’s no god that can help your hair if I do what you ask.”  Sarena shook her head and backed away from my hair, as if she feared it would suck her soul from her chest.  She muttered words I couldn’t understand, probably some kind of Apache prayer.

 “Aren’t you being a little dramatic?  It’s just hair.”  Although Sarena had 1/8 Apache heritage, she played it up one hundred percent, even adorning her shiny dark hair that reached the small of her back with feathers suspended on leather strands.  Her lighter skin gave away the fact that she had another 7/8 in her genetics–a large portion of her being she chose to ignore.

 “Why…how…are you sure?”

 I sighed.  “Yes, I’m sure.  There’s not a mandatory waiting period for hairstyle changes, is there?”  I hoped my joking tone would ease her apprehension.

 “Maybe there should be,” she finally muttered before heading through a curtain of beads hanging in the door frame to the back storeroom.

 While Sarena rummaged in the back, I turned the chair and stared out the window.  Sarena’s salon, aptly named WILD HAIR, sat in one of the oldest flat-top adobe plazas near downtown Santa Fe.  Next door, to the east, an upscale jewelry store sold hand-crafted turquoise and silver jewelry.  Samantha Starkey’s real estate office shared the wall to the west.  I don’t–but if I did have money, Samantha would be my agent of choice because she only sells million dollar homes.  Across the plaza, a couple stood in front of a shop window, bundled in coats and snuggled into each other to ward off the chilly March winds.  Their entwined arms blurred as my eyes over-focused on their touch.  The urge to cry caught me off guard, especially since it’s the first natural emotion, other than anger, that I’ve experienced for over a month.

 The swooshing and clicking of beads summoned my attention.  I turned the chair toward the mirror as Sarena set several bottles on the counter.

 “Last chance,” Sarena asked hopefully.  “You can still change your mind.”

 I shook my head.  “Decision’s already made.  Let’s do it.”

 When I didn’t feel her hands in my hair, I looked in the mirror and saw her biting her lower lip.

 “You’ve been through a lot lately.  Don’t you think it’s hasty to do something this drastic?  You may hate yourself tomorrow.”

 I involuntarily cracked a smile.  “Hair grows back.  I can’t regret a decision that fixes itself.”  I have other plans that may result in self-loathing.  I kept that thought safely tucked inside my head.

 “Very well,” Sarena said sadly.  “If you do not care, I shall not either.”  In one shocking snip of the scissors, she removed the hair up to my neck.  “No need to color hair that won’t be there.”

 I glanced at my pained expression in the mirror and realized why she felt the need to explain her action.  My face relaxed while the master of beauty began my transformation.  I felt like a caterpillar spun into a cocoon and at any moment, a beautiful, butterfly would emerge.  I closed my eyes, anticipating the moment when I would open them and see someone else in front of me.

 After styling my hair, Sarena dramatically spun me around to face the mirror.  “There you go,” she said proudly.  “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”

 My laugh trailed off when I turned my attention on the dark-haired woman in the mirror.  I reached out and touched my reflection.  My eyes were the only part of my face that couldn’t keep the secret, but I had a fix for that, too.  “I love it,” I said sincerely and hugged Sarena.

 “Do you mind if I change clothes in the back?”

 Sarena raised an eyebrow slightly.  “Go right ahead.  Hot date tonight?”

 “No.  But I’m making other plans.”

 I rushed behind the beaded curtain with my shoulder bag.  Several minutes later, I emerged in jeans, jade sweater with denim jacket and a coordinating plaid scarf and new boots.  The clothing was a departure from my normal skirt-and-heels routine, but to pull off the new me, I had to be different.  I even wore colored contacts so my blue eyes now matched the color of my sweater.

 “Wow,” Sarena muttered as she looked me over from head to toe.  Her gaze stopped at my feet.  “Hiking boots?”

 “Yep!”  I offered no other explanation.  I paid Sarena and added an extra fifty dollars.  “If anyone asks, I wasn’t here today and you haven’t seen me for several months.”

 Sarena looked at me suspiciously and slid the bills off the counter, into her pocket.  “Until today, that was true.  You’re not in trouble, are you?”

 Not yet, I thought.  Instead, I explained, “I’m not ready to give away my new look.  It’s a surprise.”

 I pushed open the door leading to the plaza and bumped into a man tall enough to shield the late afternoon sun from my eyes.   His hands grabbed my shoulders to keep me from stumbling backward.  His voice struck a note of familiarity in my mind, so I tilted my head back slightly to see his face.  My heart beat faster.  A shiver slid down my back.  I stifled a gasp and willed my disguised features to not betray me.

 Continued Next Week…

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17 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Serial – Kharma’s Way – Post 1 (Transformation)

  1. Brown Eyed Mystic July 31, 2010 / 5:15 PM

    Loved it, and can’t wait to see what exactly is this lass up to. You did good justice to the piece by using clean, crisp descriptions.

    Thanks for the share!

    -BrownEyed

    • jannatwrites July 31, 2010 / 7:28 PM

      Yay! I’m glad you liked the first installment. I hope the next ones follow suit 🙂

  2. jpcabit July 31, 2010 / 6:46 PM

    Your descriptions are superb, as well as your setup of this girl trying to get a “New You!”

    • jannatwrites July 31, 2010 / 7:29 PM

      Oooh, superb. Wow…thanks so much for the huge compliment!

  3. Lua August 1, 2010 / 2:11 AM

    I love the Sarena character- “1/8 Apache heritage, she played it up one hundred percent” 🙂 She was so original.
    Very mysterious and great dialogue- she’s obviously up to something! And that tall man, hmm…
    Well, I guess I just have to wait till next Saturday to find out 😉 Great story!

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2010 / 6:56 AM

      Thanks, Lua! I liked Sarena too– which is funny because she just kind of happened. She didn’t decide to be Apache until the meeting was underway.

      • jpcabit August 1, 2010 / 10:09 AM

        Aren’t those the best characters though? 🙂

      • jpcabit August 1, 2010 / 10:10 AM

        And I love how writers say things like “She decided to be Apache,” or “I didn’t know she was Apache until…” as if the characters already existed before they wrote about them!!! 🙂

        • jannatwrites August 1, 2010 / 11:25 AM

          Your comment cracked me up because it’s true! Its just that to me, it seems a bit presumptous to say I created every aspect of a character’s personality…often the characters are a mixture of people I have actually met, so I’m not responsible for making up the traits–just the combination used to mold a new character.

          I also agree that the spontaneous characters can have more texture than the meticulously planned ones…it may be a good thing my planning is generally spotty at best–I guess we’ll see 🙂

  4. Kavita August 1, 2010 / 5:34 PM

    That was some start!! Gosh.. I am waiting for next week already! The character build up was quite amazing, really!
    And the expressions that you’ve brought out in Serena…WHOA!!! That slight fear, the grit, the desperation for something drastic! A thrilling read…
    Now for the next part! 🙂
    Kudos!!

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2010 / 6:09 PM

      Yay! Thank you so much for the positive comments and encouragement. I’m glad you enjoyed it and I do hope you do check back next week for the next entry!

      • Kavita August 2, 2010 / 3:47 PM

        I SURE WILL!! 🙂

  5. Stephen Watkins August 2, 2010 / 3:23 PM

    I’m amused that in coming by to check out your site after you left a comment on my blog… the first thing I see is something with a character that shares my last name.

    I’ll have to comment on the story itself in a bit (after having time to read; it’s almost time for class).

    • jannatwrites August 2, 2010 / 3:33 PM

      Oh, that would seem creepy, but I’d like to assure you that it’s a coincidence (had a HS friend with that last name).

      • Stephen Watkins August 3, 2010 / 6:48 AM

        The frightful commonality of my name is one of the challenges I suspect I face in trying to build a career as a writer.

        • jannatwrites August 4, 2010 / 7:31 AM

          If only the name were the most difficult challenge….

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