Shirley liked to watch TV while she ran, but I had always enjoyed the sounds of exercise. The whirring of the treadmill, the rhythmic thumps of my feet as I kept my pace, my breathing and heartbeat. And the quietness of my thoughts.
Today, my eyes met my own in their reflection in the blank television screen. I looked at myself as I ran. I was in very good shape for a woman in her forties. Better shape, even, than a fair bit of my younger years. I still looked young, probably partially thanks in part to my rather unique hairstyle.
I’d started bleaching it when I was in high school, but I’d had all kinds of looks when I was younger. Colored highlights in purple or green. I’d chosen this style at random when I graduated high school. It was dramatic, different. It had set me apart, which was what I’d wanted. The most I’d done since then was to dye it purple for a while, even though I’d thought of changing my style.
My run was over. I stepped off the treadmill. I needed a shower. I needed to make dinner, too. And make a shopping list.
I left the gym, my thoughts of change forgotten.
A few days later, those thoughts returned as I stood in front of the floor length mirror in the bedroom Shirley and I shared. I remembered standing here in my unconventional wedding dress and my pale purple hair.
Now, I looked at myself and thought about my life and how it had changed. How I had changed. I wasn’t the same young woman who had moved to Newcrest. I was happily a wife and mother. I was older now. Perhaps it was time for a change.
Shirley came upstairs and found me examining myself. “What are you doing?” She asked with a smile as she came over to me.
“I was thinking of changing my hair,” I admitted.
“I think we’ve had this conversation before,” she said wryly.
“I know. I was just thinking that it might be time to let go of a few things. I used to need my style to set me apart, but I don’t think I need that anymore. I’m happy, and it doesn’t matter if I have ‘cool’ hair.”
Shirley smiled softly. “You’ll be you, Camille, whether you’ve got a shaved head or a whole mane of hair.”
I slid my arm around her waist and left the room with her, walking down the hall to the stairs. “Have I mentioned today that I love you?’
A short time later, I returned home with a new look. I was still me. I was still Camille Thoreau. It was just hair, after all.
Or, well, mostly new. Not all things needed to change.
I was, after all, Camille Thoreau.