Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Natural Woman Chapter 2a

Zehira decided to put off her shopping until after lunch. Vince suggested that they should have lunch in the shopping district so she would not stray too far from her plans. As they sat looking over the lunch menu, simultaneously both of their cell phones began to buzz.

"Excuse me," Vince said, locating his phone first, pulling it out of his shirt pocket. Again, Zehira had to fish hers out of her tote bag. She rolled her eyes up to the ceiling when she saw Lauryn's name, but knew she'd better answer because knowing Lauryn she would call a million more times if she didn't. "Hello," Zehira answered. "Where are you now? Lauryn asked. "Well, Mom, I'm actually about to grab something to eat," Zehira responded. "Well, are you ready to tell me about your surprise? Lauryn asked.

"It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you, now would it? Zehira responded. "Z, you know I should not be the last to know. You could at least give me a hint," Lauryn pushed. Whomever Vince was talking to said something on the other end that made him laugh out loud, and before Zehira could respond to her question Lauryn asked in one breath, "Who is that laughing?" I thought you said you were about to grab some lunch. Isn't that a man I hear? Is he my surprise?"

Zehira couldn't help but to laugh out loud herself, Lauryn was practically yelling into the phone - she was surely getting some stares from he co-workers. "Girl, calm down. You better get back to work. And no, I am not giving you a hint. Yes that is a man you hear and 'he' is definitely not 'your' surprise," Zehira laughed. But right now I am being rude, so I really have to go," she added. Zehira knew that Lauryn would not let her go that easily. "I can't believe this, Z. The least you could do is snap a picture of him and send it to me real quick. Who is he anyway?" Lauryn went on.

"I promise I will call you back and tell you everything. I really think you should get back to work." "I am not hanging up this ..." Lauryn began. "...Well, I will most certainly be waiting for your response," she continued in a professional tone. Again, Zehira knew this meant that her supervisor was on the prowl. "Okay, I will get back to you soon," Zehira responded. "You better," Lauryn whispered and the call ended. Zehira looked up and noticed that Vince had finished his call. "I'm sorry about that." Did you decide what you are going to order?" Zehira asked while putting her phone back into her bag.

Over lunch they fell back into a comfortable rhythm of conversation. As the waiter placed the check on the table both Zehira and Vince reached for it. "I can take care of it," Zehira said. "Oh, Miss Independent, I'm sure you can. Anyway, I was just reaching for it to slide it over to you," Vince said. Both Zehira and Vince laughed. "No seriously I'll get it this time, and you can get it next time. This way I get a guarantee that there will be a next time," Vince smiled. "Okay, you got a deal," Zehira responded before she realized she had agreed t go out on a date with the man she met on the train.

Before they left the restaurant Vince and Zehira exchanged business cards. Vince flipped his over and jotted down his blog address. "If you don't get in too late from your book club dinner tonight, I would like you to check out my blog, hopefully I should have it updated by then, " Vince said. "I just might dedicate today's entry to the lady I met on the train," Vince added as he reached for Zehira's hand. "Okay, now you have got me really interested," Zehira said.

"Well it was nice meeting you Queen Zehira," Vince said as he gently squeezed Zehira's hand. "It was nice meeting you too, Prince Vince," Zehira laughed. "Prince - that's all I get is Prince?" Vince laughed. "If you really do get a chance to check out the blog and your not too tired, give me a call and tell me what you think," Vince said as he released her hand. "Okay, I will," Zehira responded. "And if I don't hear from you tonight, I'll be calling to set up my free dinner," he added as he turned to walk toward the train station.

Copyright 2008 ©

Monday, October 6, 2008

Natural Woman

Zehira couldn't help but smile as she walked toward the train station. Apparently, her smile was contagious because several people who walked in the opposite direction nodded and smiled as they passed by. As she road the escalator leading down into the train tunnel, she could smell the sweet berry-cocoa-vanilla scent of her hair which again made her smile. "I 'm really going to have to check out these Oyin products when I get home," she thought as she walked through the turnstile.

Just as the train arrived, Zehira felt the vibration of her cell phone through her tote that was thrown over her shoulder. She hurried to the nearest empty seat, fished in her bag, pulled out the phone, and answered before the call was sent to voice mail, "Hello".

"I'm surprised you answered, being it's your 'secret' day off and everything I didn't think you'd want to be bothered," came the whispering voice on the other end. "Hey, I see you were able to figure out I took off so I guess it wasn't such a secret after all," Zehira responded.

Zehira was not surprised that 'L' - short for Lauryn- knew she had taken the day off. Lauryn was Zehira's oldest friend, and ever since they were teens she would always lecture her on how predictable she was and that she needed to be more spontaneous. Well, she sure wasn't her predictable self today, because not even Lauryn could have imagined Zehira cutting her hair. She couldn't wait to see the look on Lauryn's face tonight at the book club dinner.

"Like I always say, you're so predictable, Z, when you said you had a quote 'appointment' end quote - and it was on a Friday, I knew you would be taking the day off," Zehira strained to hear Lauryn say. "So did you really have an appointment, or did you just make that up so you could take the day off?"Lauryn finished. "Well, Mom, yes, I had an actual appointment today. I am on the train, as your sleuth ears have probably already picked up, leaving from my appointment," Zehira responded.

"Funny," Lauryn said. "So, what's with all the secrecy anyway?" she asked. "Well, like I said it really wasn't a secret, it's sort of a surprise," Zehira responded. "What kind of surprise?" Lauryn asked getting excited and talking a little louder. "L, you're going to have to find out tonight, just like everybody else. What were you whispering for anyway?"

"Girl, we got some nosey people up in here I tell you," Lauryn responded again whispering. "Well, maybe you should stop whispering on the phone and get back to work. I'm trying to get through the last pages of the book anyway and I have to go," Zehira said.

"I'm going to have to call you back so we can discuss this matter further," Lauryn said- now speaking louder using a professional tone. " Zehira knew this was Lauryn's way of making it known that her supervisor was near. "Don't get fired," Zehira laughed. "Whatever, I wish they would," Lauryn whispered with an attitude, and the call ended. Zehira put her phone back in her bag and pulled out her book. "Is that any good?" she almost jumped at the deep voice that came from the seat near her.

"It's really interesting," she began as she looked up and locked eyes with the man who belonged to the voice. He was wearing a worn baseball cap and she could see small dark curls peeking through. "I wonder if my curls will look like that once my hair grows out more," she thought. Zehira figured he was some type of sports coach because of the whistle and stop clock that hung around his neck. His jeans, tennis shoes and white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up led her to believe that maybe he was a teacher.

Possibly a physical education teacher. I wish I had a gym teacher that looked like him when I was in school. "Curly hair, brown eyes and curly lashes would have kept me in class everyday," she thought holding back a smile. " His books usually are good," the man continued waking Zehira from her thoughts. "I've read his other books and they were pretty good," he added.

"Well, this is actually the first time I've heard of him, I'm reading this with my book club," Zehira said as she opened the page to where her bookmark was placed. To her, this was a signal that the small talk had ended, but apparently the man didn't see it that way. "I also write," he continued without missing a beat.

Zehira looked up from her book. "I'm in the process of looking for a publisher for my first book, and I also write poetry," he went on. Resolving that he was not going to let her read for the remaining ride Zehira closed her book and said, "That's interesting," purposely keeping her response short. "So, you said you belong to a book club," he said - now really trying to start a full blown conversation. Giving in Zehira smiled and said," Yes I do. We try to meet about once a month to discuss the books we read."

"I see you have a 'Z' on your bag does that stand for the name of this club?" he questioned. "Oh, he is good," Zehira thought to herself. Out loud she responded, "No, we don't really have a name for the club. It's not that big yet, just me and three other friends, " she responded. "So, what's the 'Z' for?" he asked. "Yeah, he's really good," she thought again to herself.

She made a mental note to thank Lauryn again for coming up with the idea of everyone making each other's Christmas gifts last year, and her mother for giving her a name that started with a Z which made it nearly impossible to come up with a fake name that started with the same letter. "It's actually my inital. My name is Zehira, and my friends one of which who gave me this bag as a gift, call me Z."

"Now, I undertand your hesitence," he said. "What do you mean?" Zehira asked. "Well, in Hebrew Zehira means protected, but it can also be interpreted as careful or cautious. So far your name fits your personality," he smiled.

Zehira shook her head in disbelief. Maybe along with teaching gym class he was a history or language teacher. This was the first time she randomly met someone who not only pronounced her name correctly after she pronounced but also new the meaning, not to mention other translations.

"Okay, so you know all about me. Tell me something about the stranger that has interrupted my reading,"she jokingly replied. "First off, my name is Vince. Short for Vincent so not as fancy as yours," he started and extended his hand to Zehira. "But of course Zehira is fitting for a beautiful women such as yourself just as Vince is good for someone as plain and dull as me," he smiled as he shook her hand.

"I see you're trying to intrigue me with your poetic prose," Zehira said as she gently pulled her hand from his firm, soft grip. They both laughed. Almost an hour later Zehira and Vince sat on the train talking about everything from books they have read to childhood dreams.

She learned that she was totally off about his profession, he was actually a computer engineer who volunteered through his job as a basketball coach at the Boys and Girls Club. As she talked with him it felt as though she had been talking with an old friend and not at all like someone she had just met.

Neither had noticed that they had both missed their stops, until Zehira looked up and realized that they were approaching the end of the line. "You know, what Vince?" she asked. "What's that, Z?" Zehira hadn't remembered at what point in their conversation he had started calling her Z. "We, or at least I have missed my stop," she said.

Vince looked through the smudged window of the train to read the sign. He turned back toward Zehira, "This is the end of the line. Looks like I'm going to have to ride back as well, because I missed mine too," he smiled.

As the train pulled out of the station heading back in the other direction, Vince said, "I was supposed to be meeting a friend of mine for lunch, but I'm sure he's probably eaten by now." "I'm sorry," Zehira said. "No, it's not your fault. As they say time flies when you're having fun. I'll just meet up with him later. I'm sure he would prefer me buying him dinner anyway," he said.

"Will you be late getting to wherever you were going?" he asked. "No, I was just going to do a little shopping and grab some lunch before heading home. So, I'm in no hurry," Zehira answered.

"Well, would you mine if I join you?" Vince asked. "Shopping?" Zehira questioned. "No, I'm going to have to pass on the shopping. Unfortunately, I've experienced that journey that you ladies call shopping - it can go on for days without you actually buying one single item," Vince laughed. "What I meant was lunch. Would you mine if I joined you for lunch?" he asked again.

Predictable Zehira, being as though she just met this guy would have said maybe some other time, but the new, natural, spontaneous Zehira was now in control and before she knew it, Zehira responded, "Yes, that will be great."

Copyright 2008 ©

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interrupting With A Word From Our Sponsors...


The Rules:
1) Link to the person that tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Share 6 non-important/habits/quirks about yourself.
4) Tag 6 random people by posting links to their blogs.
5) Let each of them know they've been tagged
6) Write 6 Non-important habits/quirks

1 - I actually like reality shows :o)
2 - I love the food Network - Rachel and Emeril are my favs :o)
3 - I don’t like ‘girly’ - things i.e. but I love handbags - I am starting a collection of colors.
4 - I have a separate bedroom in my house for my teddy-bear collection
5 - I am ‘secretly’ working on my own natural hair care line - coming soon ;o)
6 - I love french-fries and strawberry shakes - mixed :o)
I'm tagging ... - 'edited' someone beat me to it - she'd been tagged :o)

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Hair Salon - Part II

Sharon grabbed one of her Kente printed capes from off the hook and draped it around Zehira. "Kente for my African Queen," she said as she lifted Zehira's hair and fastened the velcro closure around her neck.

"I don't see why you're so upset," Zehira said as she pulled her arms from under the cape and placed her canvas handbag onto the floor. "You are always telling me it's just hair and you have plenty of natural clients," she added.

Sharon let out a sigh before she responded. "I am not upset. I just hope you have really thought about this. Like I said, I have many clients who thought they wanted to go natural because either they saw some celebrity with a cute kinky hairstyle or they are just trying to impress some Afrocentric brotha they have just met," Sharon matter-of-factly stated with her hand on her hip.

"And you and I know good and well that 99.5% of the time that celebrity is wearing a kinky lace wig and that brotha is gone within a month!" she added and the ladies in the salon all laughed and nodded in agreement.

"That's true, but I have really thought about this and I am ready for my natural journey," Zehira responded. "Well, I have to say you do have more sense than most of my other clients, so I guess you know what you're doing," Sharon decided.

Sharon pulled her cart packed with her hairstyling gadgets closer to Zehira's chair. She pulled out one of the drawers and fished out a camera. "If you don't mind, Z, I'm going to document this for my book," she said. "Don't mind at all," Zehira said. "In fact once you get them printed I would like a copy," she added.

Sharon put the camera around her neck and walked behind the salon chair. She untied the silk scarf Zehira was wearing on her head like a headband and combed through her hair with her fingers.

"You do have a lot of new growth, so you wont be completely bald," she said as she snapped a few pictures of the back and sides of Zehira's head focusing on the length. "You know, you have more than 10 inches of permed ends, do you want to donate it?" she asked.

"That's a wonderful idea, Sharon. I hadn't even thought about that," Zehira responded excitedly. "I haven't done this in a long time, but I'm sure we have a Locks of Love donation form around here somewhere," Sharon said as she walked over to the reception area and pulled open a file cabinet behind the desk.

As she searched through the files she said, "Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that makes hairpieces for children with long-term medical hair loss. They also take donations that you can write-off on your taxes," she added. "Bingo," she shouted and walked back over to the booth handing Zehira the form.

Zehira read over the form and reached down to get a pen out of her bag. While she filled out the necessary information, Sharon put her hair in a ponytail then braided it in a long braid. She snapped a picture of the braid and took the form from Zehira.

"Okay, are you ready?" she asked as she clicked the pair of scissors she had in her hand. "Wait one minute," this came from the stylist who was putting rods in her client's head. Sharon and Zehira watched curiously, as she snapped the last rod closed and directed her client over to the row of hair dryers.

After her client was positioned under the dryer she set the timer and walked over to the CD player. "I've got just the thing to set the mood," she said as she flipped through a CD book. She pulled out two CDs and put them into the player.

"We will start with track 11 on this one, and then end with track one and 12 on this," she said as she made her selections, pressed the play button and walked back over to her booth. The moment they heard the tune, both Sharon and Zehira smiled over at the stylist who was now sitting in the chair in her booth flipping through a magazine, bobbing her head to the beat.

The mood was set, India.Arie's 'I Am Not My Hair' poured through the salon. Zehira closed her eyes, took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I am more than ready," she smiled as she opened her eyes and looked up at Sharon now waving the scissors over her head to the beat of the music.

Sharon sashayed backed behind the chair and adjusted it, while humming the tune. Zehira felt a couple of tugs, and before the second verse of the song Sharon was by her side singing along with the song, waving the scissors as well as her braid in the air.

Pausing from her singing and dancing, Sharon said, "I'm going to wash this, bag it up and mail it off with your form," then she disappeared back behind Zehira. Zehira's head felt cooler and lighter. She had to restrain herself from reaching up and touching her hair, she just closed her eyes and listened to the words of the song. She felt a few more light tugs and in-between beats of the song heard a few more clicks of the scissors. A few moments later she felt the chair spin.

Sharon had turned her chair toward the big mirrored wall. Zehira opened her eyes and slowly raised her head. As if on cue the next track on the CD began to play - 'Freedom' from The Panther soundtrack. Zehira smiled from ear to ear. She was truly free.

"From the smile on your face I take it that you are pleased," Sharon said as she brushed off a few stray hairs from around Zehira's neck and ears, and snapped a couple more pictures. "It's actually better than I imagined," Zehira said approvingly as she ran one of her hands through her hair.

"Good, now let's move over to the shampoo station," Sharon said. As Zehira followed Sharon over to the shampoo station she noticed the approving smiles and nods of the other ladies as she walked by. As Zehira leaned back in the chair she felt the sensation of the warm water running throughout her scalp.

"Now, when you wash I want you to start off with warm water to open up the hair cuticles to clean all the oil and dirt and then end with cool to close them, which will make your hair shine," Sharon instructed. Zerhira managed to come out from under the spell of Sharon massaging her scalp with the palms of her fingers, and say "Okay."

After Sharon rinsed and conditioned Zehira's hair she patted it with a towel and led her back over to the booth chair. Zerhira sat down and Sharon patted a few more dripping spots and placed a towel over Zehira's shoulders, she kept the chair facing the mirrored wall.

"Your hair is short enough for you to wash or rinse it and let it air dry, but I am going to put you under the dryer for a few minutes. But, before I do that let me add a little moisturizer," Sharon said. She opened another drawer on her cart and pulled out a little round jar. She removed the lid and waved the jar under Zehira's nose. Zehira breathed in the heavenly cocoa-vanilla scent. "Mmmm, what's that?" she asked.

"It's called 'Whipped Pudding' made by Oyin," Sharon said as she placed a little on the palm of her hands and massaged it into Zehira's hair. "I'm going to need to take some of that home with me," Zehira stated. She noticed that '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women' from The Panther soundtrack was now playing. That DJ hairstylist was on a roll.

"Well, you can take this one with you - on the house," Sharon responded. "Thanks," Zehira smiled. "Now, as they say the first one is always free, but you're going to have to check out the website and buy your own," Sharon added.

After she sat under the dryer for a few minutes Sharon led Zehira back over to the chair one final time. She added a little more of the Whipped Pudding to Zehira's hair and a few sprays of leave in conditioner. "That's also from Oyin," she said, 'Juices and Berries'."

"It smells wonderful," Zehira said as she admired the little shiny coils on her head. Sharon also added a small gardenia hair clip to the left side of Zehira's head. "Same side as Lady Day wore hers after her little accident," she said as she adjusted the flower, and snapped one last picture.

"Well, I wont have to worry about curling iron accidents anymore," Zehira said as she rose from the chair. Zehira jotted down the list of websites Sharon gave her, paid and thanked her for the gifts. She also waived to the other ladies in the salon and thanked them for their compliments. As she left the salon she felt like a new woman - a new natural women.

List of Sites Zehira left the salon with:

Cute Hair Accessories

Copyright © 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Hair Salon - Part I

"Hey, Z, " Sharon said as she held open the salon door. You always have a book in your hand every time I see you," she added. "I'm reading this one with the book club, it's called "Preacherman Blues," Zehira responded as she walked through the door taking in a whiff of the familiar salon scent of hair spray, burnt hair and heated metal. "Another one of those preachy Christian novels huh?" Sharon said. "Actually, this is not your average Christian novel it's pretty good so far," Zehira answered as she hung up her jean jacket.

"I was surprised to see your name in the book this morning. I haven't seen you in months," Sharon said as she walked over to her booth while Zehira followed. "Well, I decided to grow out this perm and --." Before Zehira could finish Sharon interrupted, "Yeah, I heard it all before. So many of my regulars thought they were going to go that route (she actually said root) too, but they all come back. Always." Zehira took a deep breath and eased herself into the chair. "Well, I'm not here to 'go back' I'm actually here to go all the way," she ended with a smile pleased at her quirky come back.

"Humph, I know you don't mean what I think you mean," Sharon said with her nose twisted up. Zehira, ignoring Sharon's frown and sounding as cheerful as she did when she walked into the salon responded, "Well, if you think I am here to get my hair cut I am." "Okay, Ms. Haircut. How much of your long (she exaggerated the word long), beautiful hair do you want to chop off?" Sharon shot back more like a curse than a question.

Before responding Zehira couldn't help to reflect on Sharon's words, 'How come long and beautiful are always put together, like short is ugly,' she thought. "Actually I want all of these frail, broke off, permed ends cut - or as you put it chopped off up to my new growth," she finally responded and noticed that she now had an audience. Two women and their stylists who were in booths across from her, one getting a color applied and the other getting her hair rolled with rods all looked her way.

You would have thought she said she wanted Sharon to shave her head bald and dye her scalp green by looking at their faces. The lady getting the color raised her eyebrows, the one wearing a crown of multi-colored rods lowered hers in a frown matching Sharon's, and the hairstylists both stopped in mid action. "Have you lost your mind?" Sharon demanded.

Sharon's question reminded Zehira of someone's signature on one of the natural hair websites. It was taken from a quote by Marcus Garvey, it went something like take the kinks out of your mind, not your hair. Remembering the quote she had to smile. No, she had not lost her mind, as a matter of fact she had renewed it. Zehira spared reciting the quote for Sharon and simply said, "No, I have not. I know exactly what I am doing." Her audience, including Sharon all silmutaneously began to slowly shake their heads side to side in a 'poor misguided soul' kind of way.

"Okay, suit yourself Ms. Afrocentric," Sharon responded. Not sounding a bit amused...

Copyright © 2008

Big Chop

Friday morning - Journal Entry:

It is Friday morning and I am about to embark on a new hair journey. I am going to use this journal to keep track of my progress. So here goes...

I have made up my mind, today is the last day of my transition and I have decided to cut my bra-strap length hair. I am sick and tired of dealing with the two textures in my head - curly/kinky roots and thin frail permed ends. I have a little over three inches of new growth and I am ready for my big chop. After browsing through some of my favorite natural hair websites for the millionth time, I am finally ready to take this natural journey - myself.

I took off from work today in preparation for my transformation. The new natural me! I am actually on the train heading for the salon now. After my cut, I plan to go shopping for some new hair accessories and meet up with my book club for dinner. Today is going to be a great day!

End of Entry

Copyright © 2008