I’m not even halfway out the door when one of my girls starts screaming at me over the sound of her hair dryer. I don’t care about her date with her boyfriend; she can close down the salon for one night this week. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, you’d think I’d asked her to jump off the Walt Whitman Bridge. 我不要求她们太多，但当我要求她们的时候，我希望我的女儿们敏锐.
“Gina, this ain’t fair,” she says to me. “Since when is it my job to lock up? Where do you need to be all of a sudden?” She looks like she’s going to have a stroke with her vein popping out of her head like that. 她红得像个西红柿.
I tell her, I say, “If you keep getting this riled up, you won’t need to wear any more blush.” She’s around my daughter’s age, 而且她们都太年轻了，不应该化那么浓的妆, 烟熏眼, 鲜艳的口红. 18岁的时候，他们已经学会了如何隐藏每一个缺点. 但是他们是否学会了如何开支票或如何纳税呢? 我是说，我不怕涂上眼影，但我都快50岁了. The bags under my eyes can carry more than my purse. 我有自己的化妆技巧:用层层遮瑕膏, 数加仑染发剂, and hours in the mirror every morning. They don’t need all that hassle at their age.
如果这个女孩, 丽莎, wasn’t one of the best hairstylists in South Philly, 她的态度早就把她赶出我的店了. I’ve owned Bella Luna Salon for almost ten years now. 它不是大, 但每一寸土地都是我的, from the sleek shampooing stations to the hair dryers to the neon signs out front. Sometimes, I have to remind her that she works on my schedule not her boyfriend’s. The sooner she learns that the better. 她让人头疼，但我得记住我也有过那个年纪. Besides, she can work wonders with hair. She can fix a part that’s as crooked as Passyunk Ave.
I’m not going to answer her question and broadcast my real business to everybody in the shop, 所以我撒谎. “If you have to know, it’s my friend Rita’s birthday. 她住在新泽西. 快乐?”
可怜的夫人. Pizzelle得一直坐在那里听我对着这个女孩尖叫. 我得给那个女人寄张感谢卡或者礼券或者两者都要. She’s a regular at the salon – schedules her hair appointment on Sundays after mass. 她总是说"我有自己的教堂，但你的沙龙是我的静修地.“那不是很好吗? 我给她洗头发的时候她可以整天吹嘘她的家庭.
Before 丽莎 and I started this screaming match, Mrs. Pizzelle告诉我她最小的儿子Joey被法学院录取了.
“Tell him divorce court is where all the money’s at. They say over half of marriages fail nowadays. You can’t beat those odds,” I said. “我走的证明.”
I’m always chatty when I cut hair, but she doesn’t like when I bring up my divorce. 我情不自禁. 当然，她什么也没说，只是像往常一样换了个话题. 当我剪她头发的末端时，我感到她的肩膀紧张.
Just so I can stop the chaos in the salon, 我对丽莎说, “如果你应付不来的话, I’m sure Dawn can always take over your appointments.” That fact shuts her up real quick. 道恩是个可爱的女孩，但大家都知道她对头发的伤害. 女孩没有把玛尔塔·卡普托的头发染成赤褐色，而是染成了亮橙色. 丽莎 just grinds her teeth, and gets back to drying Mrs. Lombardi的卷发. I’m still not sure why I keep Dawn around. Mostly, I think, it’s to shut 丽莎 up at times like this.
当我把沙龙的门摔在身后时，四周一片寂静，但我并没有得到任何安慰. 今天城里太热了. 所有的家庭肯定都在收拾行李准备去海边做最后一次旅行了. I’m already sweating from running around all day. Sure, the hair dryers don’t help, but I blame our chatter for spreading around even more hot air. My hair has frizzed enough already. I wish I was really meeting Rita. Now, I have to worry about having a sit down with my ex-husband, Ray, with this mop top.
I haven’t told the girls who work for me yet that I let Ray sleep on my couch last night. 他们一点都不知道，这太疯狂了，因为我总是对他滔滔不绝. 别在沙龙里装电视了，我的生活就是肥皂剧. They know all about the cheating, the missed child support, the new girlfriends. 他们不知道雷昨天绝望地出现在我家门口.
After working in heels all day, it wasn’t 容易 to stand in my doorway and watch him find the words. He said, “Gina, I know we have our issues, but hear me out.”问题? Ray and I have got the whole subscription.
I was twenty-one when I got pregnant with Maria. 这是,. Ray and I were getting married and fast. 除了摆桌子，没有时间做其他事情. God forbid I waddled down the aisle of St. Catherine’s with any kind of a belly. The whole neighborhood might have a collective heart attack.
I should’ve realized Ray was cheating on me. 我把它归咎于一些小事:他为他父亲工作, my time away at cosmetology school, 启动沙龙, 怀孕. 我生完孩子后，他常说我的大腿像咖啡蛋糕. 我知道他不是认真的，但我还是用手抚摸着腿上的脂肪. I should’ve smelled the perfume or found the stray hairs, but I didn’t want to. Instead, he just sat me down one morning and told me all about this new girlfriend. 这个新的“爱”他说. I could’ve thrown the entire bathroom sink at him. 我很高兴我没有. He wasn’t worth nearly as much as all my beauty supplies.
We both got lawyers and set court dates. 离婚的时候我得把玛丽亚和hg888皇冠手机版在第八街的破房子留起来. From day one, I wanted to keep him in my life. I couldn’t picture it without him. I thought it’d be good for Maria too.
雷一开始是个好父亲. I’d catch him lying on the floor with her on his chest, 他们俩都昏迷了, Big Bird still yapping on the TV. But he’s been in and out of her life since then. 现在，她去上大学了. 她快19岁了, 但当她和他在一起的时候, she acts like a little kid who doesn’t want to scare away a butterfly that’s landed on her finger.
And Ray still had the guts to ask me to crash on the couch. He ran his father’s sheet metal business into the ground and his latest girl kicked him out of the apartment.
He still looked good though, and I hated it. 为什么他是好酒而我是昨晚的剩菜? First, I told him go find a hotel. But he leaned in and looked at me with those big brown eyes.
“Please, Gina, I’ve got nowhere else to go,” he said. “就一个晚上. I promise I’ll stay out of your hair.所以，我屈服了. 他拥抱了我. 我像咖啡蛋糕一样碎了.
Sure, I’ve dated here and there since Ray. There are lots of great guys out there, and a few have made their way into my life. But I’ve changed since the divorce. 我现在把头发剪短了. I tease it out for volume so it barely touches my shoulders. 它被染成了金黄色. Ray says I look like a mad scientist, but I don’t care. 它又吵又讨厌. 我想它很适合我.
Ray was my biggest crush in high school. Forget my posters of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman. I used to make Rita drive past his house on Friday nights. She lived right next door to me and her older brother would lend her his beat-up convertible. hg888皇冠手机版会有自己的监视. I’d wait to see which party Ray went to that night.
他总是穿得那么好. No jeans and sneakers like the other neighborhood boys. He wore button-downs and snuck into the discos. 他也比我大几岁. His brown hair was long and feathered and perfect. 他很帅，他自己也知道. He’d have a different date almost every week. They’d walk off into the night together to go dancing. 天啊，真该有人报警因为hg888皇冠手机版跟踪了那么多人. Well, someone should have arrested me. Poor Rita was just my getaway driver.
I officially met Ray at Pete DiPalma’s eighteenth birthday. I made Rita drive us after getting ready at her house. 她化妆真是一窍不通, 差点用眼线笔戳瞎她的眼睛然后放弃了. Rita never felt like impressing anybody. If she could, she’d just wear her school uniform everywhere. Book smarts: that was more Rita’s thing. 所以，像往常一样，我接手了. 我给了她一双埃及艳后的大眼睛这样hg888皇冠手机版就能出门了.
Of course, I knew Ray and his friends would be there. 不然hg888皇冠手机版为什么要去? 如果不是为了引起雷的注意，我高中时为什么要做任何事? That was back when I straightened my curly, brown hair on an ironing board every night. 我就知道他喜欢这样. All the girls he dated had straight hair. I must have looked like a cocker spaniel. I probably had the puppy-dog eyes to match. But the heat damage and burns to my scalp were all worth it the second he looked at me.
I did everything like the magazines told you. Look hard to get, but not uninterested. 我还没反应过来，hg888皇冠手机版就在聊天，他把手放在我的腰上. My heels dug into the shag carpet. He made fun of my earrings, but only so he could touch them. 那天晚上我不得不甩掉丽塔，这样他才能送我回家. But after Ray kissed me goodbye, I wouldn’t hear any of it. My face must have been bright red. I could feel it burning even when his lips were gone.
I still have our prom photos in an old shoebox somewhere. Boy, that was some updo I concocted that night. Ray said he’d never seen hair so big. We danced for hours and the sweat deflated it all. That’s when he started calling me “mop top.” Ray took me dancing almost every night. 我个子矮多了，但我穿厚底鞋，所以hg888皇冠手机版可以成为完美的搭档. 我会请他过来吃晚饭. 我妈妈给他做了馄饨，他把她逗得哭了. Sure, everyone said Ray never stayed with one girl for too long, but it was my turn. I wasn’t going to give him up so 容易. 我知道他是怎么操作的. 只要他回到我身边，我就让他和朋友们出去玩. Even though the rumors started to swirl, I made it work. I used to call up Rita to update her on his record.
She’d probably crack up if she heard this news. She’d love to know how desperate Ray is now. I almost wanted to call her up, but things have changed. She stopped watching “The Ray and Gina Show” a while ago. She got a job as a travel agent and got out of South Philly. She lives out in Cherry Hill now with three kids. 你相信吗?? 我早就知道她会离开这个社区，但我从没想过会这样. 我失去了我的犯罪搭档. I’m the godmother to one of her kids, but I’m lucky if I get to see her once a year.
When I get back to the house, Ray’s watching TV. I toss my keys onto the kitchen counter and start boiling water for whatever pasta I decide to make tonight. 做饭总能使我平静下来. It reminds me of when Maria still lived at home and I made thirty-minute meals every night – when it was just the two of us.
Ray hears me and jumps up from the couch like lightning. He always said I make too much noise. 手镯，鞋跟，钥匙链，现在还有锅碗瓢盆. Everything I buy is too gaudy, he says. Like his shiny shoes and big belt buckles are so classy. I expect him to mouth-off one of these same old complaints, but he sweet-talks me.
“As crazy as always, but they get it done,” I say. I want to open a jar of sauce to get it heating in a pan, but the lid is too tight. Ray says he’s got it, takes it from me, and pops the top off without so much as a grunt.
“You always knew how to keep it together. You run a tight ship,” he says, handing it over. 我回到炉子旁. 我能感觉到他在看我. I know he wants me to turn around to face him. Maybe give him a chance to explain himself. When I don’t, he goes for the silverware drawer. He actually starts setting the table. I haven’t seen him do that in years. 我不知道他在干什么. 从他摆餐巾纸的样子，我想他也不知道. When he’s finished, he sits at his old seat at the table. He always liked that spot because it had the perfect angle so he could watch TV and eat. God forbid we ever had a real conversation. 他会静静地坐在那里，溅出比宝宝还多的酱汁.
“玛丽亚喜欢大学吗??”他问 while I put the bowl of pasta down between us.
“到目前为止一切都好. Thinks chemistry’s going to be a lot of work.“我总是这么说，但我不知道玛丽亚从哪儿弄来的脑子. I tell her there’s nothing under my hair but air. She definitely didn’t get her smarts from Ray. He barely passed high school so his idea of college is 动物的房子.
“我一直想给她打电话，”他一边说，一边把意大利面堆到他的盘子里. “Never got to give her my big college talk.” He smiles and waits for me to bite.
“哦是的?” I can’t help but be interested in whatever tough-guy advice he’s concocted now. “hg888皇冠手机版听到它.”
“Well I want her to stay focused, ya know? College has a lot of distractions.” He scrunches up his eyebrows like he’s trying to act like some college professor. “These boys they all want the same thing. I know what an idiot I was at that age.” He looks down at his plate and rubs the back of his neck.
“I’d say you were more of a jerk.” I smile and pass him some more sauce.
“这是我应得的，”他笑着说. We both pick at our pasta without really eating. “But seriously,” he starts up again, “now that she’s on her own, I want her to be careful. You know all that makeup she wears? 她不需要那么多. All those boys will think, well, you know, that she’s 容易.他低声说出了最后一个字，好像不是直接从他嘴里说出来的. 耶稣基督, he’d love it if she just became a nun like the ones who smacked his hands in Catholic school. He has no idea that she’s already had a boyfriend. 他是个好孩子. That I never let her go anywhere near his house until she finished her homework. But she doesn’t tell her father all that. 为什么她要?
“You know she learned it herself. 你觉得她不好看? You don’t think she knows what she’s doing?”
“当然，我相信她. I just don’t want her to send out the wrong signals. 给人错误的印象.我大声笑了笑，摇摇头，继续戳我的意大利面. “Look I didn’t mean for you to get all upset,” he says. “I’m a worried parent just like you.”
I can’t stomach this meal anymore. I put my plate in the sink and go off to my room.
After a while, I hear Ray doing the dishes. I hadn’t bothered with them myself. I usually just leave them soaking for too long. 我倒水槽之前宁愿把所有的银器都洗一遍.
When he’s done, I hear him walk into my dim bedroom. 他没有开灯. 他就躺在我旁边. 我背对着他. I don’t want to be the first to apologize. 我为什么要? For a while, neither of us says a word. 没有噪音. No yelling like we want to wake the neighbors. I just listen to his breathing and try to remember the last time my bed wasn’t empty. When he starts to rub my back, I don’t stop him. His hands don’t feel different, but they feel heavy. He pulls me close and says he’s sorry.
“记住你长长的棕色头发?我转过身来，他问我. 他看着我的眼睛，好像想要回顾过去. He smiles and says to me, “You always looked so good.” He looked at me like we were kids again. 我不能说谎. I wanted to let it all go, to have it all back for a second. 我会让他留下来. He could run his fingers through my hair and spin me around like we were back on the dance floor.
When I came into work this morning, 我不得不对着几乎覆盖每面墙的镜子看我自己. I didn’t have time to re-apply my makeup so I look like one of those sad clowns. Even with all the hairspray, I still have bed head. 姑娘们已经开门了，正忙着迎接第一天的顾客. Dawn has Annette with her head in the sink. 丽莎剪掉太太的头发. 预的鲍勃. 我真的应该再雇一个发型师，但我不确定我现在是否能负担得起. I’ll have to check the books later tonight. I think the shelves also need restocking. I can do that too while I’m at it. 丽莎 pulls me aside and offers me one of the cannolis she bought from the bakery down the street.
“I know I gave you attitude yesterday. I want to make up for it,” she says. I tell her not to sweat it and grab one for my breakfast. I didn’t have time for my usual Starbucks run either, so before operating any heavy machinery, I decide to make a pot of coffee. 我还没倒完水就听到另一个顾客进来了.
“早上好,女士们. 已经有一段时间了，”雷说. I almost drop the pot and shatter glass everywhere. 我的心都提到嗓子眼儿了. It’s like I swallowed that cannoli whole. Ray hasn’t stepped foot in my shop since before the renovations – back when it was an old laundromat.
“I thought I’d stop by to get a little trim. 女士们，你们怎么看? 我看起来像个嬉皮士?” All the typical commotion in the shop stops. Dawn has to remember to turn off the sink so water doesn’t run all over the floor. 所有的目光都落在我身上. Ray grabs my waist and gives me a quick kiss. The girls must be in more shock than I am.
“Take a seat,” I say, pulling away as fast as I can. I’m usually a natural in heels, but I can barely make my way over to my station to grab my scissors.
他说:“这只是一个修剪，但我理解这是不是有点尴尬。. “我相信我能找到一位可爱的女士来完成这项工作.他上下打量着丽莎. “你叫什么名字，甜心??”
我把他的椅子转了一圈，姑娘们才有机会说话, so it’s just Ray and me staring at each other in the mirror.
“This place really looks great, Gina,” he says. 我都不记得求过雷多少次让他在我工作的时候来看我. 我一直想让他知道我离开的所有时间都得到了回报. 但现在我觉得不舒服. 我必须抑制住用电动剃须刀剃光他整个头的冲动.
Instead, I just wet his hair and start cutting. 我用梳子梳理他的头皮. 我以为感觉都一样，但它比我记忆中的要薄. 他在等待的时候谈论一些事情——关于他的计划和hg888皇冠手机版的未来. In the shop’s lighting, I can see more of his gray hairs. But I can’t see us staying together. This is what happens when I let myself lose control. This is the first time in over ten years that I’ve kept my mouth shut during a trim. 我只是不停地切. I cut until there’s barely any hair left. I didn’t mean to, but I give him a crew cut like they do before they send guys off to the army. It makes him look older, which I never thought was possible.
“I guess I’ll see you for another dinner later,” he says when I take off his apron. The girls have all gotten back to their routine. The regular rhythm picks up again around the shop. Ray goes to kiss my cheek, but I cut him short.
“I’m going to have to close down the shop tonight,我告诉他, “and I need the house empty when I get home.” I don’t even sound like myself. 如果是别人，我一定会扯着嗓子喊. 我只是盯着他看. I didn’t shout it, but he knew I meant it.
He doesn’t say anything at first. 他只是揉了揉额头，好像要熨平所有的皱纹. I had given him every reason to think we were fine.
“是因为头发吗??他问道，试图笑出声来. Those big brown eyes look up at me for one last chance.
“不，我喜欢这头发，”我说. 这从来都不是问题. I look around at the girls working on a few customers. I tell him maybe I’ll call him and we can talk later. 从那以后，他失去了笑容. That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. He looks around the shop like he’s never seen it before. 好像他掉进了什么陷阱.
“真正的好,吉娜.他朝我摇了摇头. He asks me if this is how I treat people. 如果这是我的行事方式. How does anybody ever have a chance with me? 他说我有个问题. He even says he’ll say a prayer for me. 其他人会说他完全变了一个人.
在这个时候，所有的女孩都看着我，让我做决定. They’re waiting for me to let them off the leash so they can say something to this guy. 我只是跟着雷走到门口. I hold it open for him on his way out. 他没有说再见. He just strides down the sidewalk going God knows where. All I know is that it’s even hotter outside today. 当门在我身后关上时，我感到我的头发卷曲，热气消失了.
Amanda recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University with degrees in English and Writing Seminars. She currently lives in Southern New Jersey where she grew up going to beach and swimming in the ocean. 除了为当地报纸撰稿，阿曼达还是一名海洋救生员. She has always felt a strong connection to her hometown and a desire to share its stories.