Fiction Friday – What Are Friends For?

This piece is a flash fiction that I first entered into an Edmonton Journal contest (a few years ago; there’s no budget for such things now.) I’d like to say it won but it didn’t. I edited almost half of the words so that it made the word count for the Writers Union flash fiction contest. There it won an honourable mention…and now to the story.

  Isabel arranged the combs and brushes on the terry cloth towel she had laid over the stainless steel tray.  “Well, Iris, what would you like today?  No, don’t say anything.  I know just what you want.”

Isabel moved one of the combs and set it nearer the edge of the table.  “What did I do with the scissors?  Don’t tell me, I’ll find them.”  She rummaged through her satchel and after a couple of minutes produced them with a triumphant flourish.

“I knew I brought them,” she said.

Isabel looked at Iris’s long, graying hair.  She took a brush and pulled it through the thick straight mane.  It wasn’t easy to get the knots out.  “I’m going to wash this, Iris.  It’ll make it easier to cut.”

Isabel had Iris’s hair washed in record time.  As she toweled it dry, she said, “I think it would look better short.  Short hair makes a person look younger.”

Isabel hummed as she cut great swaths from Iris’s thick hair.  The overhead light flashed silver from the sharp blades of the styling scissors.

Soon most of Iris’s heavy hair lay in a pile on the floor.  Isabel stepped around it and picked up the hair dryer.  “Do you like it, Iris?  No… don’t say anything. I’m not done yet.  Wait until I blow it dry and it has more body.”

The dryer whined as Isabel styled Iris’s new bob.  She drew the brush through the hair and curved it gently at the ends.  When it was dry, Isabel stepped back.  She took a hand mirror from the tray and held it so the back of Iris’s head was in view.

“I told you, you’d look younger.  I never did understand why you were so vain about that long hair.  I’ve wanted to do this for ages.”  Isobel flicked an errant lock into place and picking up the scissors trimmed some uneven hairs from Iris’s bangs.

“There, that’s your hair done.  Let me see your nails.”  Isobel took her hands and inspected her nails.  She shook her head and clucked at the bright polish.

“I can fix these, too,” she said.  “They’ll be easier to keep when they’re short.  You won’t need polish, either.  I’ll just buff them.”  Isobel hummed in a tuneless monotone as she took the nail scissors from the tray.  Snip, and then snip.  As each scarlet nail was severed, tiny silver sparks leapt from the scissors.  Snip, snip.  Iris’s nails joined her hair on the floor.  When Isobel was satisfied that they were short enough, she buffed them carefully.

She sighed with satisfaction.  “Just look at you, Iris.  You look great, so much younger and more stylish.  You should have let me do this, years ago.”

Again she held the mirror so her old rival could see what she had accomplished.  She added, “I know you want to look your best tomorrow.  You’ll never have another funeral.”



Something Else to Worry About

I know that my blog is called the mild side and I meant to write mellow, worth-a-little chuckle pieces. But I can’t control my urges to occasionally rant- this is post 10 so I’m going to rant.

At a certain age, your body makes changes so it’s more comfortable; changes you might not be as comfortable with. I not talking about wrinkles, sagging boobs, loose bellies, fallen asses. I am talking, people, about feet. Yes, feet. Now women are putting themselves through nasty surgeries because when you get older, even your feet get too ugly for aesthetically sensitive people to be exposed to. What kind of disgusting conditions can be corrected with cosmetic surgery for the feet?

Feet get knobbly. Bunions need removal to slim feet, toes can be lengthened or shortened, lumps and bumps can be shaved, bulging veins stripped or scrawny feet plumped with filler.  Women might choose some of these procedures to lose a shoe size and get that more glamerous size 8.

Ah- the ideal. Is there any wonder women’s feet show their age?

All surgeries come with some risk. It’s ludicrous to think that women are made to feel so self-conscious about their feet that they won’t wear sandals or go swimming. Real physical problems that cause pain, make it impossible to find shoes, or interfere with mobility should be corrected; however surgery to have pretty feet is plain crazy and even worse is that another impossible “beauty” standard is being set.

What is next? What body part hasn’t been tweaked, modified or totally re-done? I thought when the Chinese women no longer had to bind their feet…what a liberation. And here we are in 2018 headed down the same senseless path.

And prepare yourselves- I’m including a horrifying picture, unretouched, of the feet of an old lady. They’re actually great feet. They let me walk miles if I want. They let me run (try to run- Ha) with my grandchildren; they let me walk my dogs for three kilometers a day, and dance the night away if my husband’s gimpy knee ever recovers. No cosmetic surgery for me.

The information for this rant came from The Edmonton Journal, Monday the September 10. The opinions, of course, are mine.

In their full glory. They spent the summer in that general purpose sport shoe, the flip-flop. Yikes! Bulging veins. Knobbly toes. Ugh – tendons visible.