Family Fiction posted December 1, 2019

This work has reached the exceptional level
Woman who decides it's never too late.

New Leaf


Justine Creswell had always hated her name. It was a constant reminder that her parents had wanted a boy, and when presented with a girl, hastily added an E to their chosen name.

She had never felt pretty. A sturdy 4 in a room full of 10's. So, she missed the makeup stage in junior high, the bare midriff high school stage, and the bohemian chic look of college.

She came to terms with her looks and was always thankful when a boy was courageous enough to ask her out. She would work hard to be fun, and clever, compensating for her looks. But she was still a 4.

She had lunch at Giannini's every Friday. They served a tasty eggplant parmesan and Justine would indulge in a small glass of Chardonnay. When lunch ended, Justine would make her slow walk back to lunch, pausing to look into the salon right next to Giannini's.

Beautiful women styled hair for other beautiful women. Justine would watch the women laughing, discussing hairstyles, and jewelry choices.

One day, she thought, I'll go in the old Justine and come out as someone else. She smiled wistfully. That was putting a lot of trust in a pair of scissors.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, Justine headed to Giannini's but stopped just short of the door. A deep sigh escaped her and she backed up. Today was the day.

"Can I help you?" asked a young woman with dark purple hair that was cut close to her scalp. It was a severe haircut but the woman wore it well. "You want a trim?"

Justine started to nod then looked around at the photographs of chic haircuts that covered the walls.

"No. I want a new me."

The woman nodded. "I understand completely. Naturally, I have dishwater brown hair. Sometimes a sharp haircut and a new color can help you show the world who you really are."

Justine smiled. The woman wrote something in the appointment book and waved her hand.

"I'm Teri. What's your name?"


"Oh, sexy name," Teri said, winking at Justine. "Justine, do you trust me?"

"I don't really know you."

"I have a feeling you've never felt pretty before. Am I right?"

Justine looked down. She didn't trust herself to answer. Finally, someone understood. "I feel like a 4," she muttered.

"Pardon?" Teri frowned, her alabaster skin marred by two small creases between her arched eyebrows.

"On a scale of 1 to 10. I, I feel like a 4."

"You are me, five years ago," Teri smiled. " Have a seat." She opened the drape with a snap then fastened it around Justine's neck. She leaned down and squeezed Justine's shoulder. "Look at a four for the last time. Now close your eyes and when I tell you to open them again you'll see the 10 who's been hiding in plain sight."

Justine closed her eyes and smiled. She couldn't wait to see the new Justine.

She whispered goodbye and waited patiently to meet the new her.

Thank you, MKFLOOD, for the use of the picture. It went with the image I had in my head. I got a haircut this weekend, and for the first time I'm in love with my hair. I had no idea that a good haircut was a game changer.
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Artwork by MKFlood at

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