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Trim by Galen Surlak-Ramsey

Honorable Mention, 2nd Annual Writers Contest (2014)


By Galen Surlak-Ramsey

I sit Indian style on my frilly laced bed that’s fitted with pink princess sheets and prepare myself for the trim. I know it might hurt, but I tell myself it’s for the best. It’s to make me who I’m supposed to be.

Childhood dolls, mirroring perfection, surround my space. My radio plays the Top 40 and is near a box of cotton bandages at my feet. I sing along to the music, every word that flows shapes my soul and fills it with such excitement that I feel I might burst in anticipation for what the future holds. Invitations. Adoration. Obscurity will be a faded memory, and I might finally get that second glance I’ve never had.

My hand darts under a pair of faded, size 8 slim pants behind me and pulls free the black kitchen shears I took from downstairs. A proper stylist would use something else on my hair, but these will be my savior just the same. I’ve seen them cut pork and paper alike with fine precision.

I pick up my gold-plated hand mirror and spend a moment tracing its form with my eyes. Its frame curves with grace, but the handle feels thicker than it should. I’d probably never would have asked for it had I noticed that before.

In the reflection I study my face. My wavy, light hair hangs to my shoulders and has bangs that my dad says makes me look cute. It’s a kid’s haircut, I know, and I’ve long since discovered that the proper shape can thin my face, turn me into something desired…loved.

My gaze falls to my side, and I see the woman I envy. She’s looking back at me from one of countless magazines strewn about. Her outfit is tailored. Her arms are slim. Her waist is narrow. Her makeup is subtle but highlights her cheekbones well—at least I have that. I’ve mastered the art of painting my face.

Though it’s an ad and I’ll never truly know, I’m certain she smells divine. Fortunately, when my birthday rolled around last week and I was given a half-dozen subscriptions to girl magazines filled with exercise tips that don’t work and glamour secrets that fail, I was also given three bottles of perfume. I can’t wait to look as good as those fragrances smell.

Carefully, I raise the scissors to my face and make the first measured snip. A lock of hair slowly floats to the floor, and I smile. I’m on the right track. Ten minutes later, my face is framed how I want it, and I move on. I pinch the half-inch on what would otherwise be a perfectly flat tummy and start cutting.

It hurts, but it’s for the best. It’s going to make me who I’m supposed to be.

Copyright 2014 Galen Surlak-Ramsey