Christine's heart is thumping wildly. She lets herself be led (her aunt means her nothing but good) into a tiled and mirrored room full of warmth and sweetly scented with mild floral soap and sprayed perfumes; an electrical apparatus roars like a mountain storm in the adjoining room. The hairdresser, a brisk, snub-nosed Frenchwoman, is given all sorts of instructions, little of which Christine understands or cares to. A new desire has come over her to give herself up, to submit and let herself be surprised. She allows herself to be seated in the comfortable barber's chair and her aunt disappears. She leans back gently, and, eyes closed in a luxurious stupor, senses a mechanical clattering, cold steel on her neck, and the easy incomprehensible chatter of the cheerful hairdresser; she breathes in clouds of fragrance and lets aromatic balms and clever fingers run over her hair and neck. Just don't open your eyes, she thinks. If you do, it might go away. Don't question anything, just savor this Sundayish feeling of sitting back for once, of being waited on instead of waiting on other people. Just let our hands fall into your lap, let good things happen to you, let it come, savor it, this rare swoon of lying back and being ministered to, this strange voluptuous feeling you haven't experienced in years, in decades. Eyes closed, feeling the fragrant warmth enveloping her, she remembers the last time: she's a child, in bed, she had a fever for days, but now it's over and her mother brings some sweet white almond milk, her father and her brother are sitting by her bed, everyone's taking care of her, everyone's doing things for her, they're all gentle and nice. In the next room the canary is singing mischievously, the bed is soft and warm, there's no need to go to school, everything's being done for her, there are toys on the bed, though she's too pleasantly lulled to play with them; no, it's better to close her eyes and really feel, deep down, the idleness, the being waited on. It's been decades since she thought of this lovely languor from her childhood, but suddenly it's back: her skin, her temples bathed in warmth are doing the remembering. A few times the brisk salonist asks some question like, 'Would you like it shorter?' But she answers only, 'Whatever you think,' and deliberately avoids the mirror held up to her. Best not to disturb the wonderful irresponsibility of letting things happen to you, this detachment from doing or wanting anything. Though it would be tempting to give someone an order just once, for the first time in your life, to make some imperious demand, to call for such and such. Now fragrance from a shiny bottle streams over her hair, a razor blade tickles her gently and delicately, her head feels suddenly strangely light and the skin of her neck cool and bare. She wants to look in the mirror, but keeping her eyes closed in prolonging the numb dreamy feeling so pleasantly. Meanwhile a second young woman has slipped beside her like a sylph to do her nails while the other is waving her hair. She submits to it all without resistance, almost without surprise, and makes no protest when, after an introductory 'Vous etes un peu pale, Mademoiselle,' the busy salonist, employing all manner of pencils and crayons, reddens her lips, reinforces the arches of her eyebrows, and touches up the color of her cheeks. She's aware of it all and, in her pleasant detached stupor, unaware of it too: drugged by the humid, fragrance-laden air, she hardly knows if all this happening to her or to some other, brand-new self. It's all dreamily disjointed, not quite real, and she's a little afraid of suddenly falling out of the dream.