Father’s Judgement

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It was a warm summer day in May, the last week of Melinda’s sophomore year in high school. She has two younger sisters: Nina in 7th grade, and Kenzie in 4th grade. They all had long, shiny hair that reached varying lengths and thickness. Kenzie had shoulder length honey blonde hair on the thinner side, just like her mother. Nina’s hair was thick and dark brown and reached her mid back. Melinda has the longest hair in her family that reached her hips, and was thick and jet black like her father. Over the past few years they’ve only gotten trims from their mother since they were short on money after their father got laid off from his job. Recently, he started work in a new office making more money than before. The two younger sisters hated their long hair, and always wished to go get it cut. Nina asked one day if she could cut her own hair, but her father warned her not to. If he caught her cutting her hair herself he would force shave her, and as much as Nina disliked her hair she didn’t want to be bald. She knew better than to take the scissors to her hair or anyone else’s. On the other hand, Melinda loved her long thick hair and loved to keep it long too. Her mother only trimmed an inch off of all of their hair each month, keeping split ends away. Her mother was just like her and loved all of their long hair. Their father however despised long hair, and he cut their mother’s hair into a short bob each month himself. She didn’t let him touch the daughter’s hair though. Not until one fateful weekend.

While Melinda was sitting at the kitchen table doing her last bit of homework before summer break, her father was not too far making breakfast. Their mother was out running errands and had a doctors appointment, so she wouldn’t be home until almost evening. Kenzie was still sleeping while Nina walked downstairs into the kitchen. “Good morning, sport. How do you want your eggs?”, said the father. Nina replied “Scrambled please. Also, dad, I have a question for you.” He looked over to her awaiting her question. Nina took a breath and asked “When can we go get our haircuts?” Melinda perked up at this question, desperately hoping that he would tell her to wait until her mother got home. She turned to look at the situation behind her. The father looked slightly shocked but also pleased at the question. “Well I can take you guys after breakfast. I’m sure your mother won’t have a problem. It’s about time you all get summer haircuts anyways, your hair has been too long for long enough. I’ll make a quick call after we eat so make sure you get ready to go. Let your sisters know too,” he said with a proud yet evil smile. Nina turned around happily and told Melinda about the haircuts and bounded up the stairs to go tell Kenzie. Melinda’s face turned pale and her stomach started to turn. How short will he have her hair be cut? Can she choose what haircut she’ll get? Where will he take them? She turned back and quickly finished her homework and ran upstairs to get dressed so avoid any punishments. All sisters returned downstairs dressed and ready while they ate their breakfast with their father. Melinda picked at her food and felt more nauseous with each bite yet finished her plate. The father cleaned up the dishes and went to his bedroom to make a quick call without the girls eavesdropping. He returned with his car keys and ushered the girls out the door and into his truck.

To the Barbershop

The whole trip, Nina and Kenzie talked about what styles they wanted to try – all being short, of course. Their father drove into a small town nearby their house and stopped outside of an old barbershop. Melinda felt dread course through her body and her legs turned to jello. She almost couldn’t open the door but her father opened it up so they could all get out on one side. Their father entered the barbershop first, Followed by Nina then Kenzie and Melinda slowly coming behind them. The barbershop looked as old on the inside as it did the outside. Black and white tile floors, fluorescent lighting. Two mirrors hung up on the wall above two small counters holding various tools. Melinda could spot clippers hanging on the wall as well. In front of the mirrors sat two large barber chairs made of red leather and chrome. They looked worn, and the chrome was slightly dull. The barbershop was empty minus the family inside.

They sat down on a couple waiting chairs by the window at the front of the shop. The barber came out from the back room and greeted the father warmly and waved over at the girls. “So this is the problem you told me about, eh?” the barber said with amusement. Melinda could tell he wanted to shear her like a sheep, and she slid as far back in the chair as she could. Their father chuckled and said “Yes sir. You see, their mother loves their long hair, but she’s out today and I decided to bring them in for a well deserved haircut, and I thought you would do the best at chopping their hair. My daughter even asked for a haircut today so this is her wish granted.” The barber laughed and said “Well who’s first in my chair?” Kenzie jumped up and ran to the chair before Nina could and giggled at her when she sat in the large barber chair. The barber went over to Kenzie and put the paper around her neck before draping a huge red and white striped barber cape over her. All you could see left of her was her head and her blonde hair covering her shoulders. The barber looked at the father and asked how to cut the hair. Their father thought for a second and said “Well her hair isn’t too long, so just cut it up to her chin.” The barber nodded and took out his comb and scissors, combing the hair before starting the cut. Kenzie watched herself in the mirror while the barber tore into her hair, cutting it right to her chin all the way around. Waves of honey blonde hair rained down to the floor and slid down on the cape. Melinda watched anxiously, assuming that her father would end up deciding her haircut as well. The barber finished up Kenzie and removed the cape from her neck. She got out of the chair and went up to the mirror beside them to look at her new bob.

Nina took to the chair next and smiled happily while she got caped and combed out. “What haircut would you like Nina?” their father asked. Nina thought for a few seconds before saying “A bob up to my ears and some bangs please!” Melinda was shocked that Nina wanted to go that short. After all, her hair was almost as long and as thick as hers. The barber smiled at the girl before snipping her long tresses off as short as her ears, slowly making his way around her head. Melinda cringed at the snip sound of each lock shorn off of her sister’s head. She hated that sound. The others seemed to enjoy it though, especially the barber. Nina watched in amazement as her dark brown hair rained down the cape and slid to the floor, feeling her head get lighter with each chop. The barber then turned her around and combed her hair in front of her eyes and cut short bangs across the middle of her forehead. Melinda watched and felt sick, hoping that she wouldn’t get a haircut like her sister. hopefully she could get away with a couple inches off from the bottom.

Nina hopped out of the chair and felt her and her sister’s new haircut and admired herself in the mirror. Their father looked over at Melinda with a cross look on his face since Melinda hadn’t gotten out of the waiting chair yet. “Don’t make me force you into that barber chair, girl.” he said sternly. Melinda slowly walked to the chair as tears pooled in her eyes. She sat down on the slightly warm leather and felt small in the large chair. The barber hummed happily while clipping up her hair to put on the paper and the cape. Melinda felt swallowed in the cape, she could only see her head and her long black hair draping far over the back and sides of the chair. The barber started to comb out her super long locks and looked at the hair in amazement and excitement. He couldn’t wait to chop off her long hair. “What haircut do you want Melinda?”, asked her father. She sat frozen in the chair. “Umm, could I get two inches off from the bottom please?”, she squeaked out hopefully. Her father scoffed and rolled his eyes. “I bring you all the way here for a haircut and all you want is two inches? You sound just like your pitiful mother wanting all that hair. All it does is get in the way of everything. You know what, go ahead and chop all of it off and make it two inches all around her head. If she cries, I want you to shave it off.” Melinda’s eyes widen in shock and filled up with tears. She did her best to hide them and blink them away. She couldn’t believe her father got mad like that and ordered her hair to be chopped short.

The barber grinned sinisterly and combed her hair once again, this time slowly and enjoyed it as much as he could. He leaned down to her ear and whispered “Trust me, you need this cut, girl. Girls like you look better with their hair on the ground rather than on your heads. I’m going to enjoy every second of this.” Melinda blushed and felt like she was going to throw up after hearing the barber’s words. She tried to look away from the mirror but the barber made her watch. He took the first section by her temple and held it up. He placed the scissors an inch from her scalp and slowly snipped it off, dangling it in front of Melinda’s face. He grinned and continued taking small sections all over her head and snipped them off. Melissa felt helpless, like a sheep being shorn. She stared in disbelief while her beautiful hair got cut to a boy’s cut. Her sisters and father watched as well, all wearing happy smiles while Melinda was dying inside. The barber was only halfway around her head now. She couldn’t help but let a few tears fall and hoped that nobody would notice. However, that wasn’t the case.

The barber saw the tears running down her cheeks and held her face and turned it to him. “Looks like she’s crying. You said you want it shaved then?” he asked, turning to their father. “Their father walked over to them and looked at her face as well. He stood back up straight and crossed his arms. “Yes, teach her a lesson. Shave it all around with a 1 attachment and it should be fine.” He said, turning to the barber then returning to the waiting chair. The barber smirked while setting the shears down and picking up the corded clippers. He attached the number 1 attachment on and with a click, brought them to life. All Melissa could do was cry while the barber cheerfully rid her of all of her hair, first starting on the shorter side. As he worked his way around, she could see her pale scalp through barely any stubble she had left. He turned her chair around to where she could see her long hair on one side and a little in the back. He held her head to force her to watch as he pushed the clippers all the way back from her forehead to her crown. Long black hair rained down the side of her head and in front of her head. Some strands of hair stuck to her tears on her cheeks, and Melinda gripped the arms of the barber chair. The barber continued to mow her hair down to stubble. As he finished, their father stood up and got his money ready, looking proudly at his daughters and their new short haircuts. The barber removed Melinda’s cape and she slowly stood up. She reached a shaky hand to her head to feel her new buzzcut. Her sisters ran over to feel it too. She looked down at the floor and all of the hair covering the tile, all piled up high. She sighed sadly at the sight, and turned to where her father was by the door. “Thank you for giving my girls a good barbering. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it as much as we do,” the father beamed. The barber chuckled and said “Trust me, it’s my pleasure. Bring them when it gets long again and I’ll take care of it,” he said while glancing over at Melinda.

Their father paid the barber and they left the shop, quickly returning home. That evening, their mother was shocked at seeing their short cuts. Their father said to her “You know, honey, your hair is getting a bit too long now as well. After the girls go to bed I’ll give you a nice shave,” he said with a smirk on his face. Needless to say, all the girls in the family ended up with super short haircuts.

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