Chapter 5

They spent the afternoon making love with the Red Sox game on Eunice's bedroom television. When the game was over, the new lovers knew they had a few hours left before Eunice's family returned from the Boston drive.

"When I was eight, my father let an old man acquaintance of his stay with us for a few months," Eunice let Ted know as they lay cuddling in her bed.

"I never knew that," Ted replied.

"His high school football coach or something," Eunice said. "Semi-senile. No family. Pretty much bedridden."

"That's too bad," Ted replied.

"He'd call me into his room sometimes," Eunice said quietly.

"Oh?" Ted asked nervously.

"He'd tell me to close the door. Lock it." She seemed to be in a trance. "He'd make me stand in the window without my clothes on. And he'd touch himself. Then he'd give me money not to say anything."

"Jesus," Ted said with horror.

"That's why I've been shy," Eunice told him. "And that's why I did the play. To not be ashamed anymore."

"What happened to the old guy?" Ted asked.

"He died," Eunice reported.

"Did you ever tell anybody?" Ted asked.

"Just you," Eunice answered.

They lay in silence for a long time with Ted stroking her hair.

On Sunday night, Eunice washed her hair and blew dried it for the last time with her heavy duty model and then she had her sister take some final pictures of her with her long hair.

On Monday morning, Ted arrived as promised and he drove with Eunice, her mom, and her sister for the big event.

"How do you feel?" Ellen – Eunice's kid sister – asked.

"Nervous," Eunice laughed.

Peggy was friendly and welcoming when the contingent walked through the front door of Hazel's Beauty Salon.

"Are you really going to do it?" Ellen asked.

"I'm really going to do it," Eunice answered with a mixture of excitement, confidence, and determination. "No turning back."

"It's good to try something new in life," Ted remarked, giving Eunice a hug.

"I have nothing to lose but my hair!" Eunice quipped.

Eunice took her seat in the chair and Peggy finished with preps and began the procedure almost as if she was a doctor performing a surgery.

"No panicking!" Ellen giggled from her chair where she, her mom and Ted sat like fans at a football game watching the action

When it was over, Eunice stared at herself in the large wall mirror of the beauty shop.

"How do you feel?" Ted asked, taking a step toward the chair.

"Like a whole new and different person," Eunice laughed.

"Your hair was your identity for a very long time," her mom said.

"Any regrets?" Ellen asked.

"I'm feeling weirdly excited and remarkably okay," Eunice smiled, suddenly hopping out of the chair and giving Ted an embrace.

"Hair's to us," Ted smiled into her new short style. "Love will keep us together," he added, quoting Toni Tenelle.