“Africa”,I awed at my grandmother’s words. She and her church friends were going on a missionary trip to Chad. I was fascinated by the idea but my sister was sold on the idea hook, line, and sinker: she wanted to go too. My grandma was thrilled her granddaughter was interested in the lord’s work as much as she was but she told my sister she had to wait a while while the details were finalized.
Ecstatic about going to the African nation, my sister talked nonstop about it. My sister predicted what she would do there and where she would sight-see. Hardly a word came out of her mouth about actually helping the natives construct missions and clinics and food banks.
Then, our grandmother came to visit us again. Something was different about her, her entire head was shaved smooth. My sis and I were shocked by grandma’s new look, my sister even more so.
”You see, dearie”,my grandmother explained her choice to my sister who was clutching at her shoulder-length, brown hair,”Chad’s going to be very hot when we go there and besides, you won’t have time to deal with your hair while on the mission. Better to just shave it all off”
My sister was reluctant to go to the hairdressers with my grandma but she couldn’t miss the chance to go to Chad. Swallowing her pride, she agreed to get her head shaved at the hairdresser’s.
I went along with the two as emotional support as my sister began to shift her legs nervously as we approached the building. My hand on her left shoulder seemed to calm her nerves and she began to breath calmly as we entered the shop.
The barbershop where grandma got her head shaved was an old, female-run establishment. They welcomed us all in with open arms. My sister’s stylist was a older, pudgy woman with a silver buzz cut by the name of Sara.
Sara say my sister in the chair and combed her hair back to pin to the back of her head. I could tell my sister wanted to bolt out of the shop as the cape tightened around her throat. But looking at me in the reflection of the mirror seemed to make her legs stay put.
The barber lady began chopping away my sister’s chocolate strands until it was all uneven and very short. With all the hair basically cropped very close to the scalp and the shorn hair littering the floor and covering the cape, Sara grabbed her clippers off the wall. No need to bother with clipper guards, the lady switched on the device, smoothed out my sister’s hairline, and slid the humming blades through the crown of her head.
I watched nonchalantly as my sister’s crown and all sides of her head were buzzed almost to the skin. When the clippers did die down, I rose from my seat on the waiting bench and gave my sister a tissue to dab her eyes as she crying a little. She got out of the chair for a moment to hug me and then sank back into the cushion that supported her bum.
My shirt was completely covered in my sister’s brown hair which was a bit annoying but I just smiled and watched as Sara spread the shaving cream over my sister’s scalp. Like a pro, Sara glided the razor blade over my sister’s scalp.
And in a few minutes, my sister’s head was completely shaved bald. Sara removed the cape and my sister began to giggle, at her new look and at me who had her hair stuck to the front of my red shirt.
”See”,my grandmother smiled, rubbing my sister’s bald head,”That wasn’t so bad”
I didn’t go on that mission trip but I did see my sister off at the airport. She had her luggage in hand and her freshly shaven head glowed brightly in the sunlight.