The Hippie Commune was at one time a house belonging to what can only be described as old money. Even WaySmallTowns have old money real estate. I think that the owner of the house received it when a grandparent died and the will, bypassed the parent in a spiteful sort of way. That's what I remember about it, though at the time, I didn't know who the owner was.
The outside of the house was totally kept up. There was a garden out back that was maintained by residents as was the landscaping. The house sat on about 3 acres. Once I had been around the place for a while, it became clear that anyone who lived there just pitched in and did what needed to be done. There was a blackboard in the kitchen that had a running to-do list on it. I remember that there was always someone canning something, whether from the commune garden or some other source.
There was no reason, looking at the house from the outside, to think it was anything different than what it ever was, a family homestead. Crossing the threshold to the inside presented quite another picture.
On the porch through which we entered the house, the refrigerator was the only thing even slightly out of sorts. There was charming wicker furniture with the plushest of cushions which was totally inviting and artfully designed. Conversation areas abounded. Crossing into the living room through the front door revealed another design ethic that can only be described as the original shabby chic. The room was bordered by couches, 6 in all strung end to end as if built in. I later learned each couch was basically a bed.
Even though it was late spring, there was a fire going in the firplace and Jamie led me over to sit with him in the chairs arranged facing it. He tucked his still dripping hair behind his ear, and I could suddenly see his unobscured face. He was beautiful. Jamie went on to tell me how Wendy had given him one of the conditioner packets I had given her and that she couldn't stop talking about the excellent hair cut she had just gotten. He told me how he hadn't had a haircut in a few years because he was sick of no-one being able to deal with his curly hair. We talked a bit longer, and Wendy brought around another beer for us all.
Jaime thought that for the moment, he'd like to keep his hair longer, but he totally had faith in me and told me to just have at it. But first, to ensure peak creativity, some weed. I wasn't about to argue, but it did occur to me just how surreal this situation was. I was in this house with strangers, really, but felt totally at ease, the only exception to that being the fact I was about to tackle this boy's hair and it was only my second experience with such a mane. But I was young. And bold. And he was sexy. Nearly naked. And I was beginning to feel creative.
We drank and smoked until about three in the afternoon. By that time, a few more people had come and gone. Wendy still hadn't spoken another word. Ribs were cooking on the barbeque. A fresh salad was on the table in the kitchen.
I remember at one point having the wherewithal to call home. I explained to my mom that I was still cutting hair. "Is Wendy still with you?" She was. Sort of. But I just said yes, and I let my mom know she would make sure I got home safely. "By eleven." That's all my mom had said before hanging up. I couldn't believe the freedom I was suddenly being granted, and all because I was with the daughter of one of my dad's friends.
A woman came in from the back yard and put a platter of ribs on the table. She picked up a purse and keys, and then leaned in to give first Wendy and then Jamie a kiss. As if seeing me for the first time, she asked if I was Barbara's daughter. I nodded having recently caught Wendy's silence as my own. She turned to Jamie saying "I'm off to work. Be. Careful." Her words were very clipped and deliberate. Her hand brushed Jamie's cheek very tenderly, and then she turned and left the way we had come in.
Time seemed to be standing still. I noticed that Jamie's hair was now dry, that he was now wearing some old comfy sweats but nothing else, but I don't remember him ever being out of my sight.
After the woman left, I told Jamie that I thought he was too pretty, and maybe I shouldn't cut his hair. Maybe it was perfect already. Yes, I actually said pretty. He thanked me for the compliment, took my hand and brought me to standing. Our faces were inches apart. He spoke very softly, words for only me to hear. "You will cut my hair as you see fit. But first, lunch awaits us in the kitchen. Would it be okay if I kissed your lips?"