Before I go

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Rachel’s mom was sick, very sick. The woman who took care of the household became extremely frail and soon was confined to a bed. Her daughter was a live-in nurse and provided everything while the woman watched on, meekly smiling. She knew that she was going to pass on but there was something that she needed to do before that happened.

One afternoon, as Rachel caressed her mother’s hand, the woman coughed some and said,”Baby, look at me”

Rachel looked at her mom intently,”Mom, I’m here”

”Your hair has grown so long”,the woman ran her fingers through the young lady’s chestnut tresses lovingly,”It’s beautiful, no?”

”Yeah”,Rachel gave a small laugh,”You never let me do anything with. You always had to be the one to give me a trim now and then”

”The first Saturday of every month”,the woman relaxed as she reminisced,”I would call you down for breakfast. I gave you a hearty meal and when you were finished, I would always sit you down, swaddle you up in a towel, grab my shears, and give you the lightest of trims”

”That’s right, mama”,Rachel looked deeply into her mom’s eyes,”I remember. It kept my hair healthy as it grew. That’s what you always told me”

”Yes, yes”,the woman sat straighter in bed,”And now, I think the growings done”

”What do you mean?”Rachel asked, perplexed.

”Sweetie, you and I know that I don’t have long on this earth”,the woman cleared her throat,”And I’m going to need something from you before I go”

”I don’t understand”

”There’s a barbershop downtown”,the woman went on,”It’s run by a dear friend of mine. She’s a little younger than I am but knows what I want”

”That is…”Rachel knew but dreaded the answer.

”Honey, I gave you that head of hair”,the woman said,”And before I go, I want it back”

”But…”,Rachel stood up from her mom’s bed in surprise,”You told me to always keep my hair long”

”I know”,the woman nodded,”But I’m on my way out and you’ll grow a new head of hair when I’m gone”

Rachel couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She loved her hair but loved her mom even more. “Hair is temporary”,Rachel said as she stood outside the barbershop,”It’ll grow back”

The young lady entered the shop, forcing a smile to greet the hairdresser. Her mom wasn’t wrong. Rachel’s hairdresser was younger than her mom and treated the woman’s daughter like an old friend. She brought Rachel back to a barber chair and sat her in it. A cape was snuggly tightened around the lady’s neck, the chair pumped up, and the hair was brushed to its length.

Rachel watched as the hairdresser separated her hair into seven ponytails and felt as the shears cut through the thick strands quickly. The young lady could hardly recognize herself with such short hair, running her dainty hands through it: the hairdresser tried her best to cut the ponytails to as close to the scalp as possible. With the ponytails put aside, the hairdresser grabbed her clippers and turned them on. Rachel felt her head being pushed down to her chest and felt the clippers moving up the back of her head. Her head was buzzed to a film of fine, short stubble.

The hairdresser was satisfied, spraying a few lines of shaving cream down Rachel’s scalp. She covered Rachel’s head in the foam and grabbed a straight razor to scrape it all off. In the end, Rachel’s scalp was bare but the hairdresser seemed to not be satisfied still. The chair descended down to its original height, giving Rachel false hope that it was all over. But instead of removing the cape, the hairdresser reclined the chair so that Rachel’s head was enbetween her knees.

Rachel shut her eyes tight as she could hear the clippers buzzing again. Her spine tingled as she felt the device go over her brow. A little chill later, sounds from the razor made it clear what the hairdresser was doing. The young lady then heard snips. She opened her eyes as the chair was being put back into position.

Her bushy eyebrows were gone and her eyelashes were cut short. Rachel couldn’t believe how she looked but returned to her mother’s bedside: smooth as a cueball.

”This is nice”,Rachel’s mother stroked her daughter’s head tenderly,”And thank you for doing this for me, sweetie”

Autumn came and went and Rachel’s mother died within the year. She was buried six feet deep and with Rachel’s hair at her feet. As for Rachel, she noticed that her hair wasn’t growing back. Her mother seemed to have cursed to be smooth forever with her final breath. 

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