Today was one of those long lazy summer days. It was too hot to do anything around the house so when one of my neighbors called to see if we wanted to go swimming I was just as happy as my jumping screaming children. The girls ran to get their swim suits. I grabbed the beach towels and went to the kitchen to find something to bring my hostess.
The pantry selection was slim but I found a bag of pretzels that was still fresh. I’m a big tea drinker so I stuck a box of that in the beach bag. Minutes later the girls and I were walking down the street. I ended up carrying my youngest daughter after she tripped so when we arrived at my neighbor’s place I was ready for the chill of the pool.
I swam with the kids while my neighbor made iced tea. The kids splashed around in the pool and when they started getting cranky I pulled the pretzels out. My neighbor went inside the house for a jar of peanut butter. We sat around talking while the kids ate pretzel rods dipped in peanut butter. The bag of pretzels didn’t last long. The kids complained that they were still hungry so my neighbor went inside to cut up some apples for everyone to eat.
While I was outside with the kids another one of our neighbors stopped by my friend's house. We stood there chatting while the kids ran around the yard. She asked about my children and our plans for the rest of the summer. I told her the girls were finally done with soccer camp. She mentioned that she and her husband would be going to Florida soon. My neighbor knew that my family had been down in the Fort Myers area earlier in May. She asked how our trip had gone and that’s when I noticed that she was staring at my hair.
I brushed my still wet hair back self-consciously. My cheeks flushed and my neighbor must have realized that she was staring because she made a remark about it. “Excuse me for asking but did you get your hair colored?”
I looked over my shoulder to see if she was talking to someone other than me but apart from the kids I was the only one standing there. “No. It gets lighter in the summertime. Why?” My neighbor is a very nice woman. She wouldn’t hurt a soul and I’m sure her words weren’t meant to be cruel but my face was red when she delivered her parting shot. “I just wondered. It looked a lot better before. It’s too blonde now.”
The funny thing now is that people who don’t know me can’t tell my hair isn’t naturally strawberry blonde. Sometimes fiction is stranger and more real than the truth and now you know why I colored my hair.