My Name Is Rose
By Alexa Kingaard
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: March 15th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rose is unsettled, curious, and bored. Life in a hippie commune is her parent’s dream come true, not hers. She doesn’t share their passion for living off the land, nor does she enjoy the isolation that is thrust upon her. When she convinces them to send her to public school in the nearby town, a new world opens up to her.
As she pursues her education, Rose chooses a different path, leaving her parents heartbroken at her insistence they are hiding something from her. She’s convinced her father isn’t the man her mother married.
Although she finds love far away from her roots and upbringing, her wounds only deepen as she keeps her family at arm’s length. What she loses during those years can only be retrieved with her understanding that “a Rose by any other name is still a Rose.”
We strolled together down the corridor, acclimating ourselves to the environs of dorm living. It would be loud, for sure. Freshmen, sophomores, a few juniors arrived in all shapes and sizes. Most of the girls looked fresh out of high school, and they probably felt as lost as we did. Some had already situated themselves in front of the TV set in the common area. Others took advantage of their last weekend of summer, checking out the activity board and bolting for the front door.
I marveled at the momentum and excitement that permeated the air and took a deep breath to still my thoughts. Had I been too hasty with my decision to leave the commune? Did my school girl fantasy of trying to come to grips with my parentage propel me into an environment where I didn’t belong?
I shrugged it off. I knew I had made the right decision.
Cecily and I continued to investigate our surroundings.
Almost in passing, more of a question to myself than to Cecily, I asked,” What do you think I would look like with short hair?”
I pulled at the uncombed ends, a head of hair that hadn’t been trimmed in a decade and had absolutely no style. It was just hair, lots of it, lackluster, drab, and long, in need of something different to coincide with my long-awaited sense of freedom…a more mature, post-high school appearance.
“I think you would look adorable. Open your face. People could see your eyes. They’re really pretty, Rose…so dark…very unusual.”
I startled. Nice of her to say.
I tried to imagine myself with hair that didn’t go past my waist. A short pixie – no, too drastic. Maybe a perm – not even my most rebellious self could justify a move that extreme.
The next morning I found a hairdresser close to campus, a wise choice I thought, since there was a line out the door by the time I arrived without an appointment. She convinced me that a blunt cut, shoulder length, feathered bangs, a slight undercut to create movement was what my perfect oval face needed.
I reluctantly followed her advice. I winced when she pulled all my hair away from my face, tied it loosely with a rubber band, and with one motion of her razor-sharp scissors, sheared off the entire mass of hair three inches below the knot. I could hear it sever every strand, like slicing bread, and watched it fall at my feet in a dull brown heap, ready to be swept up and thrown in the trash. Almost two decades of my identity, in five seconds, gone.
My face registered my shock and horror. I felt the chair slowly turn around, my back to the mirror, as the stylist prepared herself to take on the challenge. After what felt like hours, she finally removed the black cape, shook off the pieces of uneven, chopped waves and tendrils that clung to the plastic, and gently rotated the seat to reveal my image. Pleased with herself and waiting for my reaction, I squeezed my eyes shut. I was unsure if I might cry at the end result, a vision so unfamiliar, I was positive I would hate it. I regretted taking the plunge, and before I peered out from my new, shagged bangs brushed to the side just below my eyebrows, I held my breath and reassured myself that it was just hair. If I didn’t like it, even if I detested it or was embarrassed by it, it would always grow back. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes.
I followed my reflection in every store window all the way home. A few boys, ready to pursue conquests and casual victories, cast second glances in my direction. A totally new experience for me. I put my head down and walked quickly past, too fearful to engage in conversation or to stop to get acquainted, but by the time I reached my room, my confidence had soared.
“So cute!” shrieked Cecily when I flung open the door and presented myself to the only person who had seen both the before and after version of me.
Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and has lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative.
She gives all the credit for completing her debut novel, KEEP FOREVER, to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return.
Her second novel, MY NAME IS ROSE, will be released through Acorn Publishing March 15, 2019.
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