I’m working at the salon as usual. The phone rings. It’s Aishah.
“Hey Aishah! To whom do I owe this honor?”
“You’re funny. What time are you open until today?”
“Until eight tonight.”
“Alright I’ll be in. I may have come up with a solution to my tanning dilemma.”
“That’s wonderful. Because I’ve thought long and hard about it and sadly haven’t come up with anything.”
“No worries. I’ll see you later.”
The night rolls along. Clients come and go. I drink my water. Eat my dinner. Wash the towels. Sweep. Mop.
It was 7:45 when Aishah appeared. Normally we don’t like clients rolling in too close to closing time, but of course Aishah is a beautiful baby so I’ll make the exception. Beauty is always forgiving.
“Am I too late?”
“No. You’re fine. (So fine!) I still have people in here.”
She seems nervous but maybe I’m just more aware of her demeanor because of her disorder.
“So what are we doing today? What did you come up with? I did some research so I understand more about it, but sorry I came up empty-handed on this one, dear.”
She takes a deep breath. “Okay. So I start getting panicky a few minutes into my session. I have to open the bed, but then I have to get out because I’m still locked in that little room.”
“Right. I get that. What do you have in mind to get through your session? Just do less time on the bed?”
“No. Aren’t you about to close?”
“Yea. Like in 10 minutes. Don’t worry, I’ll be here for a while. This pile of towels isn’t going to fold itself.”
“So I was thinking. If the salon is closed then there’ll be nobody here but me.”
“Well then I could go tanning. If I get scared I can open the bed, but I can also open the locked doors to the room.
“Okay… We’ll do whatever’s necessary to accommodate your needs as a client.”
“Okay, but there’s a huge favor I need to ask you. I’m a little embarrassed but I think it can work.”
“Like I said, Aishah. Whatever it takes. I didn’t get Four 5 star Yelp reviews not giving it all for our clients here.”
“Well, I’ve worked as a model…”
“Oh. That’s interesting. I had no idea.” (Bold faced lie. Totally stalked her social media after first meeting this lovely woman.)
“I’m really comfortable with my body from doing so many different shows and you have to get changed super fast when you’re doing runway. Everybody’s running around half-naked backstage.”
Okay… I’ve heard that from my former girlfriend, Michelle. She was a model at Reinhardt here in the city.” (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day)
“Oh, okay. Thank you. You always put me at ease. Well… If I get a panic attack and feel trapped and like I can’t breathe, I’ll open the bed. Then if it’s not getting better, I’ll push open the doors. But like I said, Now I’ll feel I’m alone in a locked salon after hours and can’t get out.”
“But you won’t be alone. I’ll be up at the front counter folding forty towels.”
“I know but I won’t see or hear anything. Just the rush of the fans in the bed. I won’t be able to see because the lights are so bright and I need to keep my eyes closed.”
“So what do you do?”
“It’s what you do.”
“Me? I fold the towels up front. You tan.”
“No. When the doors open, I get back in the bed and you come down and sit on the bench outside of the room and talk to me so I can hear your voice.”
“The bench right across from the open doors to the room you’ll be in?”
“I’m fine with it. Please. If I call out to you, please come down. It should get me through the session.”
(Am I going to see something any guy in this city would kill to see?)
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