My aunt teaches me something

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I am gonna be honest here and say that I hated to go to my aunt’s house in the summer and staying til the day before school started. But I guess it wasn’t all bad, there was a creek not too far from the house which I loved to wade in, alone, at night. Who am I kidding, not even the most clear and relaxing creek couldn’t bribe me into saying her praises. She ran a damn daycare, in her house, and I had to help take care of the kids. So yeah, I loathed the visits.

There was a time in which I did enjoy my visit, at the end of freshman year, my mom literally had to drag me to the car and listen to my protests as she drove. Her sister, as usual, was happy to see me; she couldn’t wait to get to work with “Her little helper”, and I faked a smile to make her smile. At 5am, she woke me up, made us breakfast, made sure I dressed “appropriately”, and we spent an hour cleaning the house and prepping for the kids to arrive. Car after car, parents dropped off their prepubescent monsters for us to watch and cater to.

They did not behave, they screamed and cried and spat up; especially on me. I wanted to kill the brats and would have if my aunt didn’t give me a two-hour break. My aunt was a tough cookie and could keep them all quiet for two hours, provided that they went down for a nap or played outside as she drank a gallon’s worth of tea while keeping an eye on them. I usually spent my two hours scrolling on my phone near the creek, it is my happy place.

When I returned home, the time was easier as the kids ate dinner and no one dare disturb my aunt in the kitchen as she cooked. After they all went home, my aunt and I would do the dishes, which was surprisingly easy to do and fast, and did a final sweep of the house before going to bed. My aunt made sure the little ones had the playroom clean and as they found it before they could eat.

In early July, the day was like an oven. I thought my aunt would cancel her services for the day but as I asked her that while eating my breakfast, she only smiled,” If there is money to be made then, we work”

“How will we keep them all cool?”

“I have my ways”, she giggled.

I was confused and disappointed that I couldn’t have the day off. As per usual, the kids started to arrive but my aunt insisted on talking to the parents before they left for work. The day went on until noon, then it got weird. My aunt told me take them into the dining room and have them seated in their designated spot; when I herded them in and seated, my aunt came out of the kitchen, which we could see into from the dining room, wearing an orange apron. She told me to take the youngest boy into the kitchen. Hector, who was five, was the youngest so I did as my aunt said and took him into the kitchen.

A chair was prepared for me and my aunt had a determined, yet jovial, look on her face. She looked at me and said,” Today, I’m going to teach you something new”

The boy and I were both nervous as I had to sit him in the chair and my aunt cast a child-sized cape over his body. My aunt opened a box on the counter and inside were clippers with different guards beside.

“The first one will be easy”, my aunt told me, grabbing the clippers and plugging them in,” I spoke to Hector’s mother and she is fine with him going bald”

Hector didn’t like it but dared not to make my aunt angry. I watched and learned as she buzzed his head down to almost nothing. If she had shaving cream, she would’ve gave him a smooth head but we had to make do. When she was done, my aunt dusted his dirty blonde curls off his shoulders and cape and released him into my custody to take back to his seat. Before we exited the kitchen, my aunt said,” I want the youngest girl next”

I looked at her for a moment as she started to sweep up the hair, fearing that she might shave a little girl’s head, and took Hector back to his seat. His friends started to laugh at him and I told them to shut up before I asked Milly, she was a bit older, almost six, to come with me. She was hesitant but trusted me so we went to the kitchen. My aunt again smiled and took Milly to the chair and sat her in it. She started caping her with the striped cape as I feared the worse.

“What are you going to do to her?” I asked,” Like Hector”

“Please”, my aunt replied with a grin,” I wish I could do what I did to Hector to everyone but the parents would kill me. Her daddy doesn’t care if I shave her sides, as long as I leave something on top”

“I think it’s time for my two-hour break”, I tried to leave the scene but my aunt stopped,” When we’re done, then you can go but I want to cut Milly’s and the other girl’s hair first”

With no way out, I watched my aunt started to clip away at Milly’s hair. My aunt gave me the clippers and I had to finish the job. Like Hector, Milly did not fuss or cry as I shaved all below her crown. For the top, my aunt seized the clippers, pulled the long, black hair back, and cut it off at ear level. Milly ended up with a slicked back bob and a severe undercut. She did look cute but I forgot to tell her that.

One after another, boys and girls, went into the kitchen and came out with stubbled heads or short hair. I found the operation deeply upsetting, seeing that I had to do half of them myself, but also; I enjoyed the process. I loved using the clippers to cut my girl’s hair: I hated myself for thinking that.

All that was left to go into the kitchen was a redhaired girl who had big, thick, curls that came down to her waist. I felt awful for taking her into the kitchen for a haircut but I couldn’t disobey my aunt. My aunt had swept all of the cut hair into a big pile and awed the creation a moment. When I sat the redhead girl, whose name was Missy, in the chair, my aunt heaved a sigh of relief,” Phew! last cut of the day, for now”

“Yeah”, I replied in a monotone voice, looking at Missy who had the cape on,” Let’s just bob her and be done with it all”

“Oh”, my aunt said.

“Oh?” I replied,” Oh what?”

“Missy’s mom gave me specific instructions”, she continued,” Missy is to shaved like the boys are”

“Are you kidding me?!” I was livid,” She is a girl, a thirteen year old girl”

“If you won’t do as she asks”, my aunt was stern in voice,” Then, you may take your break but I have a job to do”

I didn’t want to shave Missy but I couldn’t leave her to my aunt’s mercy. With a glare at my aunt, I took the clippers and turned them on. Again, I glared at my aunt and took my position behind the girl. She looked up at me and I wanted to cry but I stroked her hair and kept calm for her. I aimed the clippers at her hairline and without another moment to hesitate, I started entering the clippers into her scalp. A giant strip of red curls descended to the floor. Again and again, more mass fell and she said nothing. I tilted her to the left, to the right, and down so no hair could remain uncut. She had a bare scalp, I killed the clippers and unplugged them, putting them back into the box and closing the box, and I swept the clumps of red curl off her lap. Then, I came round to face her, her eyes were almost closed and her lips didn’t quiver. I rubbed the very short bristles that was still on her head. She opened her eyes, her hand came from under the cover and grasped mine.

“You’re very beautiful”, my aunt patted the girl’s head in an attempt to comfort her,” Your hair will grow back, sweetie”, she kissed Missy on the forehead.


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