After a huge Italian meal, we did the next logical thing. We went to get doughnuts. So, we waved goodbye to my brother and sister-in-law as we exited the restaurant and drove to a Krispy Kreme not too far from our house.
It was around 9 o'clock in the evening and Oxford Avenue was dark and quiet. We parked in the nearly-empty Krispy Kreme lot and walked in. One young lady was shuffling trays into the glass displays behind the service counter and a man in a hairnet silently presided over the winding conveyor belt, surveying the contingency of plump, holed pastries passing under the viscous waterfall of sugary glaze. A booth in the far corner was occupied by two men who looked as though they were nursing the same cup of coffee for several weeks. Aside from that, the place was deserted.
We studied the various baked choices and considered several of the holiday-themed offerings (two-tiered doughnuts frosted like snowmen and glazed gingerbread crullers). Suddenly, Mrs. P's hair got yanked. Immediately, she suspected me — but, in the thirty years I've known her, I have never felt the need nor desire to yank her long locks. Then, she thought it may have been an acquaintance who entered through another door and recognized her from afar.
Nope. It was none of those.
It was a short woman in a dirty sweater, lipstick smeared haphazardly across her mouth, a knit cap stretched and pulled too far down on her head.. The woman was pulling her splayed fingers through my wife's hair.
"When was the last time you cut your hair?," she squawked, her overly red lips curled in a leer.
My wife recoiled in horror. "I'm thinking of cutting it right now!," she gagged out her reply, "Or washing it, at the very least!"
"Oh no, no, no.," the woman continued, her mouth bent in a crooked half-smile, "Your hair is so long and beautiful. How long has it been since you cut it?" She reached out in an attempt to grab another mittfull of my spouse's lengthy tresses. My wife cringed and stepped further back, nearly pressing her back against the glass display cases.
Finally, the woman gave up her barrage of questions, released Mrs. P's hair and started towards the exit — still muttering about long hair and haircuts. My wife was visibly distressed, pacing about and shaking her head, trying the rid herself of any residual filth this woman may have left in her free-form manual combing of my wife's mane.
"Who does that?," Mrs. P exclaimed, "Who touches another person's hair? Who feels it's their right to touch another person? Who grabs and pulls a stranger's hair?" She was simultaneously angry and nauseous. She hurried me along in my baked goods selection, saying she was anxious to get home and scrub the memory of that creep out of her scalp. I paid for our purchase and we sped home to a waiting and healing bottle of shampoo.