Banana Curls

“Suzie, stop that—makes you look unattractive. Go put on your leotard and get your coat on and gather your tote for ballet class,” said her aunt.

Suzie glared at her, twirled a fast and furious pirouette, and sacheted out of the entrance hallway to her room. She couldn’t remember where she had placed her leotard last and started tossing items high in the air, looking before they hit the floor again. She finally found it, pulled it on. She grabbed her tote, and added one more item she might need.

Her aunt came to her room to make sure she was getting ready. “Did you wash your leotard since the last practice? She walked over towards her, taking a whiff of the air. “Suzie, we don’t have time to wash and dry it. Just look at this room-how can you stand it? Hurry up and get your coat and let’s go, we’re running late.”

They walked to the car and her aunt drove fast to her hair appointment. Suzie clutched the door arm turning street corners a couple of times. At least it distracted her from what the other girls might do or say when they saw her hair.

Suzie held her nose at the smell of the permanent solution. Having to sit in the beautician’s chair for over three hours made her squirm like a puppy in a cage. The beautician was running late, being late for ballet class a possibility. No, she couldn’t get just get a body perm; her aunt thought banana curls were oh–so–cute.

They opened up the front door and the girls were sitting on the benches tying their toe shoes. Some of them looked up, their eyes widening, then nudging the ones who did not notice. Suzie grimaced, the silence of those looking away worse than the giggles.

Her aunt sat in the parent’s section. Suzie sat on the bench, away as much as possible from the other girls and pulled out her toe shoes from her tote and tied them on. The teacher called the class to order, earning Suzie’s gratitude. The class was rehearsing for the Christmas recital.

After class was over, Suzie took off her toe shoes and put on her street shoes, then put them in her tote bag and carried it to the bathroom. She locked the door, and took out the pair of scissors she had put in her tote, and took a satisfying snip for each banana curl, dropping them one by one into the garbage can. She looked at herself in the mirror, admiring her handiwork. She took a deep breath and opened up the bathroom door, closing her eyes and opening them to her aunt’s disgusted face.