At this point, she was known as a seasoned professional when it came to cutting and styling hair. She always left customers satisfied and after four years in the industry, she had seen it all. At least, that’s what she thought.
As soon as she noticed the girl step foot into her salon, she knew that it would be a challenge. But as she listened to the girl’s story, it became obvious that she had taken on more than she could handle.
Maria loved making people feel good about themselves. She knew that it was her passion long before finishing high school.
She discovered her passion for hairdressing by working in her aunt’s beauty salon. As she entered college, she knew she wanted to specialize in hairdressing. She never imagined it would have such a significant impact on her life.
One Step Closer
After two years of studying, Maria finally got hired as a hairstylist. She was one step closer to her dream of opening her salon.
Her time as a professional had been filled with both good and bad experiences. Till the fateful Saturday morning, she thought she had seen it all.
A Busy Day
Maria and her coworkers had a busy Saturday ahead of them. The salon was completely booked for the weekend, with each hairdresser having multiple appointments.
Maria was busy finishing up with a client when a teenage girl caught her attention. The girl was looking inside the salon, and Maria ignored her. However, what did girl did next made Maria stop in her tracks.
She Got Her Attention
The girl walked into the salon, wearing oversized clothes and looking distraught. With her hood over her face and her fingers fumbling by her sides, she scanned the room with her blue gaze.
Maria could see that the girl was feeling anxious, so she greeted her with a big smile. The girl, on the other hand, spun around and rushed out of the store.
She Needed To Know
“Excuse me, Lucy,” Maria said to her customer and pushed through the crowded salon. “Hey! Come back here,” Maria yelled.
The girl came to a halt and turned around. Her eyes were filled with anxiety, and her lips shook. She averted her gaze from Maria. “Please come back,” Maria said again, her lips curling. She wanted to know if the young lady was okay.
Inviting Her Inside
“What’s your name?” Maria asked kindly as the girl approached her. They exchanged names, and Maria invited her to the shop. “We have milkshakes and great stories,” she told the girl.
Maria could sense the girl was still apprehensive despite nodding and entering the shop. She led her around the various chairs, clients, and stylists. Maria realized why the girl had rushed away as she lifted her hood.
“Cut it all,” the girl begged as Maria looked at her head. Her hair looked knotted and untidy; it was clear that the girl had not combed her hair in a very long time. “Why d’you want me to cut it?” Maria inquired, already anticipating the need to clear her diary for the remainder of the day.
“Because it’s worthless,” the girl explained. “I’m not worth anything.” “Please cut it all,” she said, her eyes welling up with tears.
“Let’s take it slow,” Maria said in a comforting tone. “We’ll start with a comb first, really work through the motions.” She flashed a friendly smile. “We’ll use the clippers as a last resort, okay?”
The girl gave her a puzzled look but agreed. She inquired, “Why do you care?” Maria’s heart broke as she heard what she said next.
She Felt Neglected
The girl revealed, “Nobody ever cares.” She told Maria about her life, including how her mother had died just a few months before. Since then, she’d been discouraged and heartbroken, sinking in the despair that seemed to be a part of her life now.
She couldn’t even comb her hair at times because she felt so depressed, abandoned, and unworthy. But why did she want to shave it off?
“School’s around the corner,” said the girl. She’d need a new photo for the semester, and she couldn’t deal with the pain of combing her hair all out.
Listening to her story broke Maria’s heart. She cleared her entire weekend, squeezing in her clients to some colleagues. Throughout the day, she sat with the girl, powering through hours of combing and cleaning. Could she stop her from cutting her locks?
A Saturday Well Spent
As the day ended, Maria turned the girl around in the mirror. They’d reduced what was once a mass of matted curls into a more manageable lump of tangled hair.
The girl smiled, her first smile of the day. But Maria knew they still had more work to do. She smiled back and asked the girl if she could return the next day.
Maria rarely opened the salon on Sunday mornings, but this was a special occasion. She wasn’t sure the girl would show up, but as she pushed the door open, she saw her reflection behind her.
“Come in!” she chirped, ushering the girl into the salon. The girl dressed differently than the previous day. She’d swapped her sweatpants and hoody for a flowing blue dress, and her dark hair was free. Did she seem happier? Maria would find out.
They Spend Another Day Together
Maria picked up where she left with the girl’s hair. She asked her what length she was comfortable with and her preferred styles.
Although the girl was reluctant to talk sometimes, Maria thought she was exciting and lovely to talk to. They spent hours together. Maria found her delightful and enjoyed the work until she noticed a problem.
A New Challenge
While most of the huge blobs and matted portions of her hair had been fixed, there was still a lot of damage near the scalp. Maria frowned as she wondered how to proceed.
They had made so much progress that Maria worried the girl might slip back into her sadness and feel hopeless again if she mentioned it. She came up with a plan instead.
Maria knew she had to buy some time to ensure she could come up with a better solution. If she stared at the girl’s head for too long without working, she might get suspicious.
Maria’s mind raced as she tried to think of ways to prolong the situation while she could work out what to do. She feared that if she couldn’t find a suitable fix, she’d have to resort to cutting after all.
The Best Approach
Maria has been successful in the hairstyling profession because she was talented. However, with Maria, her customers knew she also rendered another priceless service.
Maria always felt comfortable with her older clients, and her added services flowed naturally. However, the girl’s issues and the weight she carried made it a tricky situation to navigate.
Maria knew that if she could get the girl to open up a little more, she could look for common ground with her. She desperately wanted to help her more.
She had proven easily scared before, so Maria knew she’d have to approach with caution. She took a deep breath and began asking her some questions to see how it went.
Maria was itching to learn more about her. She obviously carried around a lot on her shoulders, especially for someone so young.
It pained Maria to know that the poor girl was going through so much. It was a lot to take for anyone in her position. However, Maria also had a personal reason for wanting to help her.
Life hadn’t been easy for Maria either. She had grown up the hard way. With very little money, she’d grown up needing to help her mom pay the bills for herself and three siblings.
Leaving school at such a young age was a difficult choice. Maria once had dreams and ambitions but was forced to put them aside for her family. Then, things got even harder.
Maria’s mother had struggled through life. She faced obstacles throughout her life. When she was just 22, Maria’s father abandoned her and the children.
Her mom had found a way to keep the family afloat, often working three jobs to make ends meet. Life seemed to just be turning a corner for the family when tragedy struck. Maria was only 17 when her mom got sick.
Losing her mom to illness at such a young age was the most difficult thing Maria had ever endured. It was many years ago, but she still felt the pain daily.
Maria realized now why she had felt an instant connection to the girl. As she stared at the damaged roots of her hair, she knew she had to help her somehow.
Getting To Work
Maria changed tact at that moment. Rather than asking the girl to open up and risk her feeling uncomfortable, Maria decided to speak about her past instead.
While the girl was occupied hearing about Maria’s own tragic childhood, Maria used this time to figure out a solution for her hair. As she spoke, an idea soon came to her.
A Tricky Solution
Maria realized that the last clumps of matted hair were too small and delicate to extract without hurting the girl. However, if left that way, they could also grow out and mess up her hair again.
Maria realized that if she could delicately apply a relaxer treatment to those portions, it would untangle the hair for her. It wouldn’t be easy, though.
Getting To Work
Maria knew that relaxers contained harmful chemicals. They weren’t meant to be applied directly to the scalp so she’d have to be extremely careful.
Getting together some tools of her trade, she mixed some of the treatments and began carefully applying them to the affected areas. It was a stressful situation.
Maria kept the girl engaged in conversation as she executed her plan with the delicacy of a surgeon. Luckily, being so good at what she did, Maria could work in the relaxer without getting any of it on the girl’s scalp.
With bated breath, she allowed it to settle and waited. At last, she saw it beginning to work. She turned the girl toward her and smiled as she told her the news.
The relaxer worked a treat and had automatically un-matted the portions of her hair that would have been too tricky to do by hand. Amazingly, after the state of her hair when she first came in, it was now completely transformed from roots to tips.
Maria told her the good news. Unexpectedly, the girl’s eyes welled up, and she began crying. Maria expected her to be happy and had no idea what was wrong.
A New Friend
When the girl calmed down and explained, Maria was relieved. They were tears of happiness as the girl said how grateful she was. No one had ever shown her this much kindness before.
Maria was ecstatic. She finished the last bit of the marathon job. Now that the girl’s hair was beautiful and manageable again, all that was left was the styling. When she was done, the girl gasped with shock.
A New Beginning
Maria brought the girl a mirror. She’d trimmed the hair above the girl’s shoulders, curled the ends, and added slight shades of sandy brown to compliment the girl’s golden bronze color.
The girl ran a hand against her hair, sifting through the soft curls. Her lips curved ever so slightly, her eyes budding with tears. She looked up at Maria, “I’ll actually smile for my school’s pictures,” she said. “You made me feel like me again.”
A Happy Ending
In the end, Maria managed to get the girl’s hair back to normal and gave her a free makeover too. Brimming with renewed confidence now, she was the star of picture day. After hearing Maria’s story, she and the girl became close friends.
Maria spoke to her boss, and they allowed her to come to the salon after school to work as an apprentice stylist. After all, she had lost in life; her makeover ended up giving her new hair and a newfound hope to change her life.