Disclaimer: Sad to say I do not own Spirited Away.
This fic is a bit depressing. So if you dig for a happy story, don't read any further.
"Ohayo! Like to have a hair cut, miss?" a lady greeted Chihiro and smiled to her as soon as she stepped into the salon. Chihiro nodded nervously as the lady gestured her to take a seat in front of a wall-hung mirror. There was no one else in the salon except the lady, her assistant and her. Apparently she was their first customer as it was still early in the morning.
The lady pulled the purple hair band from Chihiro's ponytail carefully and handed it to Chihiro. "You have really nice long hair." The lady commented as she gently stroked Chihiro's hair and combed it. "Do you have anything particular in mind? Just a trim or something different?"
She hesitated for a moment before she answered, "I want it short."
"How short do you want it to be?" the lady asked again.
"As short as possible."
"Are you sure of this, miss?" The lady raised one perfect eyebrow.
"Yes." This time her voice was resolute.
The lady merely smiled knowingly and continued her work. Snip, snip, snip. Chihiro stared at her reflection in the mirror as shreds of her hair started falling to the floor like golden leaves shed by trees in autumn. She shut her eyes momentarily as she could no longer bear the sight of it. Even then, the weight upon her heart would not go away.
She remembered well why she had kept her hair long for years. She had kept it for Haku, so that she could wear that hair band as a constant reminder of him and that world. She never told anyone about her adventure in that world. She knew no one would believe it anyway. She buried that secret deep in her heart and locked it away.
Eight years had passed since they parted from each other and still there was no sign of Haku. He hadn't fulfilled his promise. So she went back to the tunnel, only to find that the other end of the tunnel was no longer the familiar green meadow or 'amusement park'. Instead she found herself still standing in the forest. Panic and puzzled, she ran franticly back and forth the tunnel but to no avail. Realization finally struck her that the portal to the spirited world was closed, maybe never to open again. She'll never see him again.
Now that she no longer needs to keep her hair long, she decided to cut it short. She has lost the reason to do so. This is the right thing to do. It's time to let go and move on now. A voice whispered to her in her head. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes again. Determined not to cry in front of strangers, she bit her lower lip and blinked away the tears. Maybe the lady noticed it too. But even if she had, she showed no sign of noticing it as she carried on with her work silently.
Snip, snip, snip. After a while, that sound finally stopped. "Like it?" the lady asked as she held up another mirror behind her head to show her the end result. She gazed into the mirror. Her hair was as short as a boy, revealing her ears on both sides. But she looked surprisingly younger and more vigorous. And it framed her delicate features nicely.
"Yes, thank you." She smiled her first genuine smile in years.
"Short hair suits you." The lady added.
When Chihiro walked out from the salon, she inhaled the fresh air outside deeply and looked up to the sky. The sky was clear and ethereal in blue that day. It was a beautiful day. Suddenly she felt like a new person inside out, ready to take on whatever the future holds for her. Then she strode down the street without glancing back.
Meanwhile a purple hair band lay quietly on the seat in the salon. Forgotten.
A/N: I don't know what got into me to write this. But I hope it turned out okay. Do let me know what you think.