I strode along the streets looking for my destination. I would not normally be on this ghetto side of town. Alice had told me it was a small brick building on the corner of Vine St and 34th Ave; so it must look pretty old. Nevertheless, the street was filled with equaly old and run down buildings.
While walked I thought about how I got myself in this position. I had run up quite the list of credit card debt. I am not normally this irresponsible with my spending. However, a couple weddings where I was the bridesmaid and a few unplanned purchases later. Now, I was staring down the barrel of debt. Not wanting to trash my credit score, I figured that I best find a way to pay it off fast.
That is when my friend Alice suggested that I sell my hair. She told me she did it to pay off her DUI fines. I thought she had cut her her hair short over the summer break to be trendy. After sullenly telling her I wanted to know more; she told me the address of Amara’s Wig and Weave Shop. After a quick google search I knew my hair would be of value. I always used the best hair products, it had never been dyed or bleached, and even slept on a silk pillow case.
I found the shop; the building wasn’t hair to find after all. There was a large sign that read ‘Amara’s Wig and Weave’. There were lots of ads for extentions, weaves braiding and wigs in the storefront window. After walking inside I found that there was no reception counter. However, there was row of stools along storefront windows. I took a seat on one of the stools and waited to be seen. I was the only person seemingly waiting to sell their hair or have a wig fitting. I protectivily stroked my long healthy virgin blonde hair while I waited.
As I stroked my hair for the last time I looked around the shop. The other side of the shop had racks of wigs on mannequin heads of varing styles. There were also many ponytails hanging off hooks on the wall ready to be processed and made into wigs. Most of the hair was black and shiny; likely from Indain or Asian orgin. There were a few brown, red and blonde ponytails.
While I sat on my stool and waited patiently for my turn I took in the rest of the shop. Not far off, at the other corner I saw a younger woman dressed in a purple top. I watched as she prepared hair for wigs and started making one. She was raking the long ponytails through a comb like contraption bolted to the table. Once the hair was soft and shiny the woman took the hair and started knitting it onto a wig cap.
What sent a shiver down my neck was the hungery looks the young wig maker gave me as she worked. It seemed as if she was lusting after my blonde locks. Sadly she probably wouldn’t have to wait that long to get her hands on my hair. After awhile a stern older looking African woman came out of the back room with a client wearing an A-line bob style wig. Her client seemed very happy with her new wig. It was then that I realized that I was a lone white girl in a black woman’s world.
Chances are I’m going to get my haircut by the older woman; I thought as I watched her. She was dressed in a long african ankara print dress. She also wore an apron. The woman’s own hair was made up of beautiful box braid extentions that were tied up out of the way with a scarf that matched the print of her dress. I bet she is Amara the owner of the shop; I thought to myself. I found her to be very intimidating.
After the the client paid the stylist and left. The older woman turned and exchanged looks with me. The shop owner smiled and gestured for me walk over to her. I stood up from my stool and walked over to her. I was so nervious as I walked those few steps.
“Hi my name is kara, I’m here to sell my hair.” I told the incharge african woman
“Ah, I see. I’m Madam Amara, nice to meet you. This tis my neice Nneka.” She replied motioning to herself and the younger woman working on the wigs. The woman spoke with a heavy Nigerian accent.
“You will follow me so I may have a look at your hair.” Amara said as she lead the way to the back room. Amara closed the door behind us as I took a seat in the chair.
The thud of the closing door startled me and made me feel trapped. I started to stand up from the salon chair. However, just as I started to stand up; Amara placed her strong hands on my shoulders. This prevented me from leaving the chair.
“Now now, you’ll sit and listen to Madam Amara! she exclaimed. “White girls only come in tis shop when they have no other choice for money. Now let Madam Amara have a look at your hair and tell you what tis worth.”
I nodded my head and settled back into the chair slightly. Amara patted my shoulders and smiled because she had won. I stared in disbelief as she covered my neck firmly with a neck strip, and draped a large white hairdressing cape over me; fastening it tightly around my neck.
“Too late to escape now.” I thought to myself as I took big gulp and felt the the cape get momenterly tighter around my neck as I swallowed. I knew my hair would be valueable and deep down I knew I would have to take her offer to pay my debts.
Amara picked up an old wooden hairbrush with boar bristles. She started combing out my three foot long lushious blonde locks. Amara bushed my hair with firm pressure; all while keeping one of her hands planted on the crown of my head. She was firm but not rough. I could tell she was being careful not to damage my hair. After my hair was brushed she inspected the ends and measured my hair.
Once Amara was finished looking over my hair she looked at me in the mirror. “Your hair tis very nice Kara. Some oft the most perfect blonde hair I have seen. I will pay you $2,500 for all three feet. I want all of it and will cut it off close. That tis my offer Kara.”
Amara explained as she talked and waved her arms as ahe spoke.
Her words cut me like a knife.
“Oh my god…What?” I blurted out. Now that really got me. Alice didn’t mention that Amara would choose how much I would have to get cut.
“I can’t get to choose how I want cut?” I begged. Having such little control affected me greatly. So much so that I momentarily wanted to stand up and leave. However, I needed that money. 2500 dollars would almost totally pay off my credit cards.
“No if I take tis hair I will cut it off short.” Amara said as she ran her fingers through my hair.
I took a big breath; once again I felt the overly tight cape catch on my throat. “Fine. I do need the money.” I say with a huff as I exhaled nerviously.
Before commencing the cut, Amara placed an oversized haircutting collar around my shoulders. It weighed down on me, making me feel ever more trapped in her chair.
“tis ting helps keep the client sitting up and straight,” Amara explained she straighted the collar and cape, making sure everything was properly placed.
I clenched my fists tightly around the arms of the salon chair. I was horrified at the thought of not knowing how Amara is going to cut my hair.
To my surprise Amara was picking up a pair of big black electric clippers. That really brought me to the edge of breaking down in tears for fear of losing my long locks. I was wrought with emotion.
Amara plugged in the clippers and snapped a long gaurd over the blades. Then she repositioned herself on my right. The clippers turned on with a pop and whirl of the motor. The noise that made me jump a little bit. As the clippers came close to into my view I could read the words “Oster A5”. I recognized them as the clippers my mom used on her show poodle. I could not believe she was going to use dog clippers on me.
“Umm aren’t those clippers for dogs.” I questioned; sharing my knowledge with Amara.
“Why yes they are, but I put ta human hair blade on them. They are just like tis human ones but cost me less and have more power.” Amara explianed as she pulled the the hair on the right side of my head into a ponytail which she held in her left hand. “Now you jis let Madam Amara do her job; tis will be over fast.”
I closed my eyes, as watching the clippers that Amara wielded in her right hand was too much to bear. The machine changed tunes while shearing through my blonde locks. My eyes got wet with tears as I thought to myself how I might look. “Alright, like a super short pixie cut. That’s not too bad.” I told myself in an effort of consoling myself psychologically.
Amara continued pushing the clippers from front to back, starting from the sideburn area. As the clippers severed off my mass of hair, a small, thin sideburn was left in place. Things turned bad when I noticed Amara wasn’t working around my back and sides, but over the top! She continued combing down sections from the top of my head and shaving it off with the clippers!
As she reached the centre point of my head, I stared in horror at my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a freak! One side was still full of my long luscious hair, where as the other side was shaved down to less than in inch. Amara switched off the clippers and set them aside for now. She wasted no time wrapping a band around the end of her blonde trophy. After setting the massive ponytail on the counter she reached for a brush to clean off any loose hairs around my face.
Amara then moved to my left side and picked up the fucking aweful dog clippers again. She repeated the proscess of bunching up my hair in her left hand and firing up the clippers. She started from the sideburn area again. The clippers tore through my hair, this time I didnt close my eyes. I watched in the mirror as she worked the clippers this way and that way. All while holding onto my precious hair. After about a two more minutes of buzzing Amara had succeeded in cutting my long hair off.
I was crying and staring at myself in the mirror while Amara put the clippers down to band my second ponytail.
“Dont cya worry kara your hair will grow back. You have given me such beautiful blonde hair.” She told me as she carefully laid my ponytail down with its mate. To my shock and horror I saw Amara pick up the clippers again. I was to worn out to protest; besides what was the use, my hair was gone anyway.
“Now let Madam Amara tiddy tis up for you.” Amara told me as she placed one hand firmly on my head and switched the dreaded clippers back on. I was crying too hard to notice that she had removed the gaurd. She pushed my head anyway she pleased as she buzzed the hair shorter on the sides. Clumps of hair slid down the large cape, resting in my lap or on the shop floor. More and more hair tumbled down the cape as she worked her way up the to my crown.
At this point I had settled down some and notice that the clippers felt different. I blinked the tears from my eyes and noticed there was no plastic gaurd over the clipper blades. The bear metal blades left me with only an eighth inch of hair. I couldn’t believe she would do this to me. I couldnt help but to wail some more.
Tears slid down my face and onto the cape as Amara pushed my head foward with her firm hand. Again there was no point in fighting. I felt the clippers buzz off the hair on my nape and up to my occipital bone. Amara let me lift my head up and she momentarly switched the clippers off to change to a slightly longer metal blade. Then she switched them back on. This time she faded the top in with the shorter sides. When she was done she turned the clippers off for the last time.
She dusted my head off with a brush.
“There see…much neater! Madam Amara twas a barber before opening this shop.” She told me as she unplugged the clippers.
I looked in the mirror, she had left me with a very short fade. I had to admit that it looked better than the roughly buzzed longer hair I had moments before. However, that didn’t change the fact practically all of my hair was shorn off my head. All I was left in place was super-short hair, like a military haircut. I hated it.
“Well I shall pay you now dear.” Amara told me as she removed the cutting collar, cape and tissue from around my neck. Amara gathered up my ponytails and I followed her out of the back room. Finally I was free from the chair and what I was convienced was no more than a torture room.
Amara and Nneka graded and weighed my hair in grams. I watched them curiously as they ran it through the comb device. Which I came to learn was called a hackle. Nneka handled my hair like it was made of gold.
“Short hair suits your face. You have pretty eyes. Be happy kara.” Amara tried to console me as she counted out the money. She tried to tell me that it looked great and accentuated my features, but to no avail. I was convinced it looked terrible, and told myself I will never return to Amara or get myself into debt again.
Amara just shrugged her shoulders and handed me the money. My hair was worth more than Amara quoted me at and she gave me two hundred dallors more. The extra money would pay my debt in full. Amara Wrote me a recipt and I quitely walked out the shop door. As I was leaving I noticed a pretty chinese girl with long hair sitting on the stool where I once sat.
Thank you for reading my story! Please, leave me a quick feedback if you have enjoyed it or a like.