Retribution


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You guys wanted a bald story, here it is. Hope you enjoy reading it. :-*

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…”

30-year-old Lara has been visiting the church regularly for the past three months. Every alternative day she would sit the church alone for a few hours, crying her heart out, and then leave for home. Every Sunday, for the past three months, she confessed about the same sin but nothing lifted the weight off her chest. It was excruciatingly heavy and overbearing.

John, whose house was nearby, watched this beautiful, sad woman walking out of the church so often with red, puffy eyes. What made her so sad and unhappy? He wondered.

On a certain Sunday, the church was closed for construction. Lara sat by the bench near the church garden with the same sullen expression. John could help but move across the street to sit beside her on the bench.

“Hey, I am John,” he introduced himself. “I live across the street.”

Lara looked up to the man, approximately 35years of age and smiled for the sake of courtesy and introduced herself too. “Lara.”

“Lara,” he mused her name thoughtfully. “Forgive my directness, Lara, I have been meaning to ask you this: Why are you so sad?”

She recoiled, wiping the tears away. “Since when are you watching me?”

“A week almost, actually,” John answered apologetically. “I mean no harm. I just…wanted to help, without making you uncomfortable.”

Lara quickly stood up and was almost ready to leave. “I should head home. It’s getting…late.”

Before John could even respond, she spun on her heels and left. He didn’t bother going after her as it would portray him as a stalker. For the next week, Lara didn’t show up and partially John blamed himself for it.

One stormy evening, John was enjoying a hot cup of coffee in his room when a loud knock on his door alerted him. He crossed the room to reach the door and opened it, revealing a drenched Lara on his doorstep.

“Hi,” she greeted sheepishly.

“Hey, come on, quickly come inside.

Once the door closed behind her, she turned to him. “I am really sorry for bothering you at this time. The storm was unexpected and…”

He quickly raised his hand to stop her. “No need to apologize. I should actually apologize for the other day. It was really creepy of me.”

Lara chuckled a little. “I agree. But later I did realize you were harmless.”

John handed her a dry towel with a chivalrous smile. “Allow me to amend my crudeness.   is left of that corridor,” he pointed. “Why don’t you dry yourself and change. My sister’s shirt and yoga pants should fit you if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t want to be a trouble, just wanted a shelter for the storm,” she said.

“C’ mon Lara, please let me help.”

She couldn’t truly refuse his help so Lara quickly dried herself, changed into John’s sister clothes, which were slightly baggy but still looked good enough, and then joined John for a cup of coffee in his living room.

“Your house is beautiful, John,” she commented. “Do you live here alone?”

“Actually, yes. A friend of mine shared the house, but Mike recently left for a tour in Germany. So, what do you do, Lara?”

“I am a lawyer for SW Associates legal firm. What about you?”

“Businessman of sorts, you can say. I own two clubs,” John answered.

Over the next hour, they chatted away until the storm receded. But it was nearing midnight, and John being the gentleman he was, he dropped her home. After the accidental meeting, Lara often met John for casual coffee and tête-à-tête. And one day Lara decided to be brave and told him the truth about her regular visit to the church. Maybe sharing with a friend like him would help, she thought. After all, John was a great listener.

“Did you remember asking me why I looked all those time?”

John took a sip of his warm coffee and placed the cup on the wooden countertop. “I did. It made you comfortable so I never wanted to talk about it until you’re ready,” he said.

“You’re really a good friend, John. Thank you. I am ready to share with you what happened,” she said with an exhale and began her story.

“We live in a cut-throat competitive world, devoid of anyone’s feelings. The same war arena is my office – the legal firm. A colleague of mine, Mona, came to the office one day after a long break. I had no idea as to why she was on leave. In the ladies room, I found out that she came in wearing a wig and that her head was completely shaved bald.” She paused for a moment, holding back the forthcoming tears. “Maybe it was jealousy, meanness or anything immoral within me – I laughed her at her and made fun of it. Long story short, she was deeply humiliated. Three days later, I came to know that she was fighting cancer.”

She couldn’t hold back the tears and sobbed incessantly while job held her all the while.

“So I was about the apologies to her the next day but upon reaching office, I learned that she had an accident the previous night, and was declared spot dead.”

For the next several minutes, John said nothing and simply held her until she quieted. The rain outside mimicked her eyes, pouring endlessly.

“I am a horrible person,” she mumbled.

“Blaming yourself is a vicious circle, Lara. The act was wrong, I agree, but you wouldn’t have uttered the insult if you knew,” he consoled her to his earnest.

She ran her fingers through her dark chocolate brown tresses in frustration. “I am damn lawyer, John. I should have figured it out. Besides, knowledge or not – my act was downright mean and petty.”

“So this is why you visit the church so often? To find your salvation?” John asked, bringing the coffee cup to his lips.

“Yes,” she admitted and then smiled ruefully. “Nothing helps though. It still haunts me.”

John nodded. “I know. Guilt left unpunished tends to eat you from inside.”

Lara couldn’t agree more. “I know.”

A long moment of silence prevailed between them until the clouds cleared. Finally, John cleared his throat and began. “You are already repentant, Lara, even a blind person would see that. But you’re just looking for ways to punish yourself. And I think I have a solution for that.”

Lara looked at him in confusion. “I am listening.”

He stood on his feet and offered his hand. “Come with me. If I just tell you, you will freeze on spot.”

“Okay,” she said nervously and took his hand, following his lead.

John led her to the bathroom and sat her down on the edge of the bathtub. He disappeared for a moment and when he returned, he had something in his hand.

“What is this?” Lara asked, furrowing her brows.

“Electric clippers,” John answered, holding it up.

“John, I can see that. But…”

He quickly cut her in. “Let me explain. Repentance won’t absolve the guilt, a punishment would. You laughed at her for being bald. Why not go through the same process yourself by stepping into her shoes, to feel what she felt? Think about it.”

Lara closed her eyes with quivering lips. Shaving bald? She had never considered this in her wildest nightmare! But John’s words made so much sense. No amount of confession, crying or repentance felt like salvation. Maybe, a self-punishment would.

It was one of the extreme idea and the toughest decision of her life.

Lara was born with thick chocolate brown glossy tresses that currently reached her mid back. It was all same length, shining glorious mane. Was she really ready to pay such a price?

John placed a hand on her shoulders and squeezed in consolation. “Take your time. Go home and you can decide for yourself later as well.”

“No!” she cried out. “If I walk away now, I will never be ready to pay the price of my sins. You’re right. I need to go through the same pain. But…” She choked on her tears. “I’d never be able to do this myself,” she confessed like a child.

John leaned in and kissed her forehead, pulling her into a long, comforting hug.

She finally looked up to him, teary-eyed, and asked for the favor. “Would you mind doing it for me, please?”

“If that’s what you want, I will do it. Are you ready now?”

“Dear Lord, I’ll never be ready for that. But yes, let’s just get it over with. I can’t bear the burden in my heart anymore.”

“Okay,” he said. John carefully pulled out the pins from her hair and dislodged the glorious bun. He took out a hairbrush from the drawer and slowly dragged it through the natural straight mane. “Let’s give it a nice brushing one last time.”

The thought of shaving her bald twisted something inside him. He was no barber, but the fact that he would be shearing her like a sheep got him slightly excited. Therefore, he was in no hurry to complete the deed and took his own time.

Lara sniffled, biting onto her quivering lips. “I will look horrible.”

“No, you won’t. Believe me. Sure, it is a drastic change but nothing horrible,” John assured. He gathered her hair into a low ponytail and picked up a pair of scissors. With one hand, he took the ponytail away from the nape and ordered, “Hold still, Lara. I am taking off the bulk first.”

Unable to form a coherent sentence, she nodded a little.

The steel clamped her hair between its grip and started doing its job. The loud ‘Schnick, Schnick’ continued on and on like an endless tunnel of suffering. Lara could only feel the tug on her hair but slowly the tightness loosened. The incessant scissors halted, and she understood that her long days are gone now.

“Hold this,” John directed, handing her the severed ponytail as she held in her shaky fingers. A wave of tears hit her anew.

“I know this is tough for you, Lara. But you’re are a brave woman. You can do this,” he convinced her.

“I understand,” she sobbed.

“I am going to use the clippers now. I want you to hold your head high for this. You won’t need to feel guilty afterward.”

John wrapped a towel around her like a cape once she straightened. He plugged in the clippers, held near her head and asked her absolutely, “Tell me in your words, Lara, why am I shaving you bald?”

Was getting shorn wasn’t punishment enough? And now this blatant confession? But Lara knew John was doing this only for her.

“I… I made fun of… Mona…for being bald. She didn’t deserve that. No one should be made fun of in that way,” she said quietly.

“Good girl,” he praised her with another kiss on top of her head.

The sudden high whine of the clippers made her heart beat race faster. And the vibrating touch of the metal was totally her undoing. But, Lara steadied herself and forced to sit motionlessly. John stood behind her, held her delicate Jew with one hand and placed the clippers on the middle of her forehead. The ruthless machine, in no time, bared the path it sailed on, from forehead to crown. Glossy chocolate hair rained everywhere around. She could only sadly stare at them wistfully.

At every interval, she cried until the tears ran dry. Very carefully, John folded her ears, ran the clippers until she was completely shaved with clippers.

“The last portion,” he announced and clamped a hand on her shorn crown and pushed her head down. Lara was speechless by now.

The clippers bared her back, strip by strip until she was shorn to the bone. Little snippets of hair irritated her back and served as a crude reminder that she was bald now.

Completely, punitively, and ruthlessly shaved bald.

Just like Mona.

Maybe now Lara could forgive herself.

But how the hell would she face the world? The wig was not an option as it would defeat the whole purpose.

Once the deed was done, John carefully dusted her off, wiped her head with a towel gently and removed all the snippets of hair from her body. The tight hug that ensued after shaving helped Lara to gather her mind.

“Thank you,” she said softly. It was difficult to, but she did anyway because Lara knew how helpful John was.

And true to his words, Lara didn’t feel the weight of her guilt anymore. But the journey of a sudden bald woman wasn’t easy. The weird looks she received in her office, with her clients, in the courtroom, and on road made her really sad sometimes.

But every time she was with John, she never felt that kind of weirdness. In fact, he made her feel…beautiful.

ONE MONTH LATER

“John, you know,” Lara began apprehensively. “I was thinking of getting a wig now.”

“You have outdone yourself, Lara. If you want a wig, sure then. I will help you select something,” he offered. “A bob?”

“I haven’t decided the style yet. But there’s also another thing. I want to remain bald like properly shaved bald,” she blurted out quickly.

John was confused now. “I don’t understand. I thought you hated it.”

Lara nervously squirmed in her seat. “I did. And I was so scared. I never thought I’d be bald. But this one month experience was exhilarating. I just can’t express you know.”

Now John smiled a little. The shaving, the extreme experience turned her on. “It was thrilling and exciting, isn’t it?”

“Yes, yes, exactly!” Lara squealed like a kid. “God! I thought you’d think I am a weirdo.”

“If that bathroom shave excited you, I have a better proposition. Come with me,” he said, tugging at her forearms.

“Where are we going?” she asked excitedly, rather than being scared.

“You will see,” he informed with a wink, walking her down one block away from his house. When he walked into a shop, Lara saw the barbershop pole right outside.

She has never been inside a barbershop and the masculine environment with the whiff of aftershave was electrifying.

“Hey John, what can I do for you?”

“No, I am here for her actually,” he said and looked at Lara.

“She already has a buzz cut, I see,” the barber said.

John nudged her slightly to take a seat and she did. “Kind of. But I want you to shave her bald. Proper razor shave, please.”

“Alright,” the barber replied and retrieved a cape around her, before putting a strip of tissue around her neck. He didn’t even bother to turn the chair towards the mirror, so Lara sat facing John.

The barber was a professional as he gripped the top of her head, a little rougher than what previously John did and ordered clinically, “Chin down.”

The vibrating clippers stripped off the stubble at the back in less than two minutes and briskly moved to her front.

When Lara lifted her gaze, she was net with John’s. The smile on his face told her that he was equally excited watching her shorn in a barbershop.

In a fashion that mirrored a military barber would do to an inductee, Lara’s top and sides were clipped to nothing.

A rough scalp of nothingness.

The barber rubbed his hands all over her head for the last time to check if he missed a spot. Once satisfied, he took the shaving foam and rubbed all over her head.

This was going to be a new experience for Lara, John thought. She had never known the touch of a razor across her skull. The sole reason why he had brought her to the barbershop.

“Hold very still,” the barber cautioned and pushed her head down slightly. The rasping sound of the razor was so loud and thrilling against Lara’s head that she could only close her eyes and enjoy the experience. The slow, measured movement of the sharp metal in short strokes continued on and on until she was completely and undoubtedly bald – in true sense.

The barber, as a ritual, dusted the talcum powder and whisked the stray hairs on her nape and neck. The last step was a masculine aftershave lotion but Lara was too high to object to its application.

By the time she was un-caped and released from the chair, John could not resist rubbing the cue-ball head.

When John walked up to the barber to pay him Lara beside him, the barber commented, “Your girlfriend is a brave one.”

A blush washed her features while John smiled and replied, “Yeah, she really is.”

P.S. Did you like the story? Tell me in the comments section below.

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