It's the little things that bring back memories.
Always in a braid, her long brown hair came, no flowed, to her waist. Boys said it was beautiful. Girls said she was lucky to have such thick and wavy hair.
Katara spent far too much of her time caring for it. Brushing out the tangles, keeping it nice and clean. When she did her water bending it would take forever to dry, and sometimes when she did an advanced move the braid would come down and hair would shed everywhere. Aang spent most of his spare time playing with it; using it like a rope, pretending it was a mustache, or just grabbing on and refusing to let go. When Sokka was especially annoyed with her he would yank on it. It drove Katara mad. Sometimes she wondered why she didn't just cut her hair off.
Now here she was, trapped in an oddly... sticky... chair, with a woman in enough face make-up to make Suki run away in shock. Either Katara was behind the times or make-up wasn't just for warriors and whores anymore. The whole place smelled like cheap hair gel. Katara searched franticly for Sokka. What good were brothers if they couldn't save you from old creepy ladies? Or Aang, who had - in his attempt to be helpful, gotten her in this situation in the first place.
"You're always talking about cutting your hair! Now you can!" he smiled. But they had both ran for the hills at the very idea of a girly salon. They were probably off in a bar somewhere having an adventure without her (for which they would pay, mightily!).
The woman made a ceremony out of slowly unbraiding her hair. She held out a large pair of lethal looking scissors.
"How would you like your hair cut?" she asked, disrespecting Katara's personal space, and leaning in close. Katara gazed at the scissors. Did she really want to do this?
"I want it at my shoulders." Katara told the woman with a tone she hoped sounded certain. Braids were a pain and she didn't want one anymore.
But then there was home. The women of the Southern Water Tribe loved their braids, the longer the better. There were three stages of hairstyles for her home. Girls wore their hair out or in agreeable ponytails, the old women like Gran Gran wore them in wise buns, and adult younger women wore them in simple yet elegant braids.
Mother was so proud of hers. Every week she would wash it in the stream, the long locks getting into her face. The other women would never do that, worried about such silly things as colds and frostbite. Not her Mom. She would then rush inside, closing the tent flap with a surprisingly loud thwack (Only Katara's mother knew how to slam a tent flap) and grab the nearest towel. Katara always held out the largest and fluffiest towel available. Her mother would then quickly dry her hair and braid it up, and then walk out as if nothing had happened. How many mornings had she watched her mother braid her hair? How proud she had been when her mother had decided she was ready for her own braid. Unfortunately mother had refused to let her do her own hair in the stream. ("You'll get frostbite!") But the memory stayed.
"Wait!" Katara yelled, knocking the scissors from the lady's hands. Katara ran towards the door.
"What do you think you're doing?" yelled the woman, grabbing Katara before she got any farther. Katara looked at her, embarrassed.
"I changed my mind." Said Katara, smiling.
And with that she walked out the door.