“Don’t cut my hair, Ma. I need to go to a beauty place. Please!”
My mother told me to stop whining. I knew I had only a few seconds before she would say I should go tell it to the chickens, so I talked faster. “Janey got a perm and everyone loves her hair. No one likes my hair. I hate my hair.”
“Come here.” She peered at me and I peered back from under my too-long bangs. She fluffed up my straight, shoulder-length brown hair and sighed. “We’ll go tomorrow.”
I was thrilled, even though tomorrow was Friday and I would have to wait until Monday to show off my beauty-place hair.”
Friday at school was two days long. I ran all the way from the bus stop, charging through the stubble in the corn field. Ma met me on the doorstep with her old black pocket-book. We walked to the neighbor’s house and got a ride into town.
The place smelled smoky and there were old men sitting in chairs against the wall, but I was delighted when the man draped me with a black plastic cape. I couldn’t see the mirror, but I watched the hair fall onto the floor and imagined what everyone would say. I felt special; I couldn’t remember ever going to town just for me.
Monday morning, my hair was messy, but I combed it all the way to school. I paraded in beaming and everyone smiled at my beautiful hair. When Janey asked me where I got my hair done, I said, “At the beauty place.”
She said it looked like someone had put a bowl on my head. I didn’t care. My ma hadn’t cut my hair. She took me to a beauty place, and I felt beautiful.
This week we asked you to write about hair. So many of us have a love-hate relationship with it. For some of us, it’s our defining feature. Whatever it means to you – or to your characters – we want to know about it.
But we don’t want you to simply describe it. We want you to use it as a vehicle to tell us something about your character, a situation, you or your life. And you needed to keep it to 300 words.