Grandma Takes Control

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“Wendy, get down here!” my grandma called up the stairs. Her voice sounded fairly neutral, but I had learned that when my grandma called for me, it was best to go down the stairs as fast as possible. I closed my laptop, grabbed my phone and headed down the stairs. I found my younger siblings Melody and Jackson stood awkwardly at the edge of the kitchen while my mom and grandma were setting up supplies. A couple of large towels were on the table next to some scissors, clippers, brushes and combs. As soon as I noticed that, I froze up as well. While my grandma was a nice lady for the most part, she had specific views on how people should wear their hair. Visits to her when we were younger had sometimes resulted in our hair being cut short.

Being a hairdresser meant that she was good at her job and so our mom had usually gone to her when we needed haircuts. After I’d turned 8 and when Melody and Jackson were 5, she injured her wrist and for a while she had been unable to hold scissors let alone cut hair for a few months. Mom had also gotten tired of us throwing fits about our hair and let us grow it out more. And for the past 7 years, my hair had grown long. With only the minimal of trims at the salon, it fell around my waist in long dark waves. Melody’s hair was nearly the same length as mine, but she did have some layers in the front. Jackson’s hair was shorter than ours around the shoulders but still considered long for a guys.

I didn’t remember sitting in the chair, but I soon found myself there with a towel tucked into my shirt in both the back and front while my grandma had wetted my hair with a spray bottle and was now combing it out.

“What shall I do with you?” she muttered to herself.

“Just a trim?” I asked hopefully, trying not to let my nervousness show.

“Long hair isn’t particularly useful or becoming on a young woman, nor will it be comfortable to have this summer.” While I thought she was wrong about the first part, she was right about the second part, and with the quarrantine happenikng, it would be impossible to get out of the house to go somewhere and cool off.

She tilted my head forward, brought the comb through the back a ways away from my head, paused for a second and I heard the scissors cutting through my hair. She repeated the proccess in the back as I watched six inch strands tumble to the floor. My head slowly became lighter as she continued the proccess, this time moving to my right side. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched my hair quickly be reduced to a messy length just below my shoulders. The left side was also quickly reduced to a similar length. I hoped I was nearly done, but as grandma began to pin my hair up, I realized that she was only reducing the length to make the cut easier.

Soon all my hair was pinned up except for a layer in the back. I felt the cold steel pressed halfway up my neck as everything below that point was removed. She unpinned more layers and cut them at that length before moving to the left side. A few minutes later, the hair on my leftside now fell halfway down my neck. As she tilted my head slightly to the other side to cut the right side, the new shortened hair tickled my neck slightly and I twitched, right as she was making a cut.   The sound was suddenly louder and a bit closer to my ear and my worst fears were confirmed as I watched a slightly larger piece of hair fall down. Grandma wasted no time in fixing the mistake as I felt the scissors pressed along my chin as more small snips were made and the hair in the back was quickly trimmed to match the new length. Minutes later, I had been released and I quickly dashed to the bathroom to take a look.My once waist length hair had been reduced a short chin length bob. It had been years since I’d seen this look on me. I didn’t know how to feel about it just yet but as I ran my hands through the strands, I decided I was okay with it. It would be easier to clean. And it was only hair, it would grow out eventually. Ten minutes later, I walked out to witness Jackson with the clippers being brought through his head, reducing whatever hair he had to scarecly longer than half an inch.

Jackson scampered off as soon as it was finished leaving Melody left. As much as I wanted to return to my room, I figured it would be best if I stayed to support my younger sister as she climbed into the chair nervously. After watching the shearing that her brother and I had gotten, she was probably nervous and I couldn’t blame her. While I had dealt with and remembered the short haircuts I’d gotten as a kid, Melody hadn’t had to really deal with it and probably didn’t remember what she looked like at the time.

Grandma was almost done with Melody’s haircut, opting for a shoulder length bob when my mom suddenly spoke up from the sidelines. “Could you go for something shorter on her? I’ve always seen her with the hair in her face and I imagine that’s one of the reasons she struggles with studying.”

“I don’t struggle with studying,” Melody protested.

“Then how come I always see you pulling your hair back?”

“I just don’t like having it up in my face.  I just like pulling it behind my ears,” Melody’s voice trailed off as she realized she was probably losing the arguement.

“I can take it as short as Wendy then if you want,” Grandma told mom. Mom paused for a moment and told me to lean forward over the table like I was writing something on a paper. Since my hair could no longer stay behind my ears, it flopped forward on both sides creating a curtain between me and the outside world.

“As much as I like the look, her hair is still going to be in her face it looks like if Wendy is any indication,” Mom pointed out.

“That’s true,” Grandma agreed. “I definitely don’t want their studying to be affected. How about I give Melody something shorter and then we can follow up with Wendy too?”

“I never agreed to this,” I pointed out.

“Neither did I,” said Melody. But I knew it was probably too late at that point. Once Grandma had made her mind up about hair, it was almost impossible to change her mind, especially if my mom had suggested it. I watched Melody’s hair get shorter and shorter. First to the chin length cut I had, then short bangs right above her eyebrows, she then combed sections of it forward and began to cut it at the same length as the bangs, she began to work on the other side and I watched as the front of my sister’s head begin to resemble a bowl as everything below her ears was reduced to a shorter length.

She did the same thing further back and took the clippers again and began to reduce the hair on the lower side of her head to a short stubble. Melody looked pretty shell shocked as she sat there and more and more of her hair was removed. Finally, the clippers were turned off and the cut was evened out. The line between the edge of the bowl and the rest of the head wasn’t as noticeable as I first thought, rending the cut somewhere between a pixie cut and a bowl cut.

“She looks just like me at that age,” Mom remarked to grandma as Melody ran off as I slowly made my way back to the chair.

“She definitely does,” Grandma agreed as she tucked the towels in again and prepped herself for my cut. “Keeping hair short and off the neck is the proper way for any young person to wear their hair.” I sighed to myself and I mentally prepared for the next cut expecting the worst but hoping for the best. The haircut hadn’t looked too bad on Melody and I was keeping myself open to new possibilities. I’d already lost a lot of hair today, so how much worse could it get?

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