Mom even thought me a new dress for the dance - it was the first dance I had ever been asked to attend with a boy. We were still living in Victorville, so I couldn't have been much older than about 10 or 11, still a string bean, a tom boy, a bully and a rough neck. I wanted to be pretty though, I always had wanted to be pretty. Instead, I was teased for having too many freckles, a stick figure, being as skinny as a May pole, having buck teeth and a nose more sloped than a ski resorts best run. I was known for dressing like a Nun, with high neck lines, nothing above the knee and Saddle Oxford shoes instead of actual dress shoes. Mom had finally gotten me some REAL dress shoes for this dance.
I stood there in the bathroom. I had been so excited all day. Tommy down the street had asked me to go to the dance with him the day before and I couldn't wait to get ready. Mom had all of her curlers out, and just this one time, even brought out her makeup kit. Other than playing dress up with Tina, I wasn't allowed to wear make up for anything.
The curlers were wound up in my hair, the heat warming my scalp more than what I was ever accustomed to. She was applying blue eye shadow to my lids in that 1980's style, though it must have been 1991 by then, surely. She even gave me a tiny smudge of brown eye liner across the top lid lash line. Then a little hot pink blush, light pink lip stick, and I was a pint size Madonna in hair rollers and a bath robe.
Mom started taking the curlers out of my hair one by one. With each one she lifted, I started to feel a strange sensation taking over me. My legs grew heavy and my eye lids seemed to match the weight increase. I wobbled and grabbed the sink in front of me to steady myself. Mom didn't notice. She continued pulling rollers out.
My eyes crossed and went out of focus for a second. Still I stood there, gripping the sink. Suddenly I grew severely hot to the point of sweating. I let go of the sink with one hand to wipe the sweat from my brow and swayed again.
"Manda, are you ok?" Mom asked me.
"Yeah," I lied. "I just need to sit down."
She had me sit on the lid of the toilet as she continued to pull the rollers out of my mousy gray and radiant red mixture hair. The waves bounced and swayed around my shoulders and I ran my fingers gently over them in awe. I always wanted pretty hair. Long, wavy hair like the hair of Veronica Lake always seemed to catch my eye. I called it "Princess Hair" because all the princesses in fairy tales had hair like that, even Rapunzel. Her's was just longer than the rest.
Mom spritzed the latest wave with hair spray and started on another roller. As she began to pull it out of my long locks, my head began to roll with her motions. My eyes crossed, I lost complete focus, and I slumped over on the toilet.
I don't think I passed out, but I'm not sure exactly how I got into my Mom's bed. I was wearing a night gown and was tucked in, my luxurious waves framing my face like a prematurely gray Sleeping Beauty. All that time and effort on my hair had gone to waste.
"Mom, can I still go to the dance?" Mom laughed a little.
"No, Honey - you almost fainted. You're sick. You've got a fever. You need to stay in bed."
"But Tommy's expecting me!" I wailed. I couldn't stand up my first dance date ever! All the girls at school said it was bad Karma to do something like that and any girl who ever did wouldn't ever have a happy school dance ever again. I also really liked Tommy. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I started to cry a little, the blue eye shadow rubbing off onto my mothers pillow case.
The doorbell rang and Mom when down to see who it could be. I heard voices talking, and when she returned she had a huge smile on her face.
"Manda, that was Tommy's dad. Tommy has a really nasty migrane headache and cant make it to the dance tonight."
I snuggled deep into the pillow and let the fever take my body into a deep sleep. The curse wouldn't affect me if Tommy was ill too, I thought. I won't have bad Karma after all.
That's what I thought.