Postponing the Inevitable

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“Well, it’s official,” I said as I took another long swig from my fruity drink, “I’m going to lose my hair.”

 

My three best friends covered their mouths with their hands simultaneously as I reached up and gently stroked the curtain of dark gold silk draped over my shoulder. I gulped at the words, I had known the bad news since this morning, but it still made me sick to my stomach hearing those words come from my mouth in resignation of what was to come. There was no other way to say it, I was going to lose my hair… and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

 

“But Katie!” my friend Mandy said as she reached out and also gently began to play with my long, golden hair, “whose hair are we going to play with?”

 

I chuckled at the comment, trying desperately to hide the despair I felt within at the impending loss of my pride and joy.

 

“That’s out of my hands Mandy,” I replied, still masking my pain, “but you better find someone fast, because I’m going to be bald in less than a month.”

 

Three months ago, I had noticed that I was much more fatigued than normal lately, and I was having body aches all the time. I thought I just had a touch of the flu or something, but as time went on I just felt worse and worse, so I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong. It turned out I had a form of cancer known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and my heart sank at the prospect that I was stricken with cancer at 25.

 

Luckily, since I had caught it early, the disease was very treatable, and my prognosis was that I had a 98% chance of recovery with no resurgence. Unfortunately, the treatment involved an aggressive bout of chemotherapy, which would inevitably result in the loss of my most treasured possession in the world, my hair.

 

My mother had forced me to keep my hair short most of my life, never letting it grow longer than my chin despite its very obvious beauty and thickness. When I left for college seven years ago, I decided to finally fulfill my lifelong dream and grow out my hair as long as I could stand.

 

“As long as I could stand” turned out to be to the very bottom of my butt, and it finally reached there around my 23rd birthday. That was just over two years ago, and I’ve kept it at that length ever since. My hair was thick, shiny, and soft, normally hanging as straight as a stick, but very simple to curl or add waves to if I felt like doing something a little different to it. I spent endless amounts of time playing with it, and I cherished every brush stroke. The girls always called it my “princess hair”, and I loved it more than anything else.

 

But now I was beginning chemo in a week, and it was only a matter of time until my most prized possession began falling out in clumps, and I would be bald.

 

I had spent hours looking in a mirror, pulling my hair back and trying to picture how I would look. I was 5’6”, with an athletic build from years of soccer, deep blue eyes, and a firm but feminine face that I had been told always looked too severe. I could admit I was a pretty girl, but even the prettiest girls in the world couldn’t pull off bald.

 

So my friends had taken me out for drinks to make me feel better. There was Mandy, the tall, buxom beauty of our group, standing at 5’8” with a wide-open kind face that always had a smile, a flawless complexion, and silky brown hair with natural deep red highlights that fell to her shoulder blades. She was the least outspoken of our group, but was kind and mindful, and I loved her to death.

 

Then there was Robin, our redhead. She was the shortest of us at 5’3”, but her fiery demeanor perfectly matched her dark-red fall of thick, billowing, red hair that fell to just below her shoulder blades in natural, rich waves. She was a firecracker, and would happily fight to the death anyone who messed with our group.

 

Finally there was Cindy Lu, our resident Asian. She was a tiny little thing, 5’3” and maybe a 100 pounds soaking wet, with long, shiny black hair that fell to the small of her waist, but smarter than anyone I had ever known in my life. She had graduated from college at 20, gotten her PhD at 23, and had been working at a local pharmaceutical company as a researcher since then. She was a bit of a spacey-headed personality (like geniuses tended to be), but sweeter than pie, and we all loved her.

 

Mandy continued to stroke my hair, with tears almost appearing in her eyes. Robin sat there, unmoving, not sure what to say, and I chuckled inwardly at the idea that our resident loudmouth was finally at a loss for words at the news. Cindy looked lost in thought at something in another world, like she was contemplating something internally, but couldn’t tell us. Sometimes that girl was too brilliant for her own good.

 

Finally… after what seemed an eternity, Robin reached down and picked up her drink, then raised it in front of her.

 

“I’ll drink to your hair Katie,” she said, quoting my favorite movie Jaws, and I laughed as I raised my glass along with the other girls. I was glad I had asked them out tonight, as I knew they would make me feel better about all of this.

 

“To Katie’s hair,” Mandy added as our glasses clinked, “may it grow back quickly, and may it be even thicker and shinier than it is now.”

 
 

I drove home and walked through my front door with my spirits lifted, but still in a slump over my impeding treatments, which were supposed to be hell. Not to mention what the aforementioned treatments would do to my precious mane of hair. I dropped my purse onto the couch and changed into a pair of shorts and red sports bra, then walked to my bathroom. I stood there for a moment and just looked into the mirror, trying to process everything.


After a moment I began to play with my hair lovingly, my shimmering, golden mane of hair spilling down my back, a few strands had working their way over my shoulders, and managing to frame my face beautifully without any effort on my part. I sat there for a while, admiring my hair in the soft glow of the bathroom lights, and then I let out a long sigh… and I began to cry.

 

I cried and I cried and I cried, shedding tears for my beloved locks because I wasn’t going to let this disease steal my hair away from me. I had let the girls take me out because tonight I was going to shave my head before the chemo could destroy it. If I was going to lose my hair, I was going to do it on my terms. After a few minutes of non-stop crying, I finally settled down and let out a long sigh, trying to get myself under something resembling control as I wiped the tears from my eyes with both hands.

 

“OK… OK… you can do this,” I tried to reassure myself as I made sure the last traces of tears were gone from my face, “you’ve got this.”

 

I let out another breath, long and deep, as I reached down and pulled the clippers I had bought for this horrible occasion. I looked at them in silence for several long minutes, horrified at the fact that in just a few moments, these monstrous items would be stealing my precious mane of silky blond hair away from me… and that this was somehow the humane option for those shining tresses.


DING DONG

 

I jumped at the sound of my doorbell going off, accidentally turning the clippers on in my hand as I did so, and jumping again at the loud, angry buzz they emitted, a buzz that I knew would become angrier and louder when they were soon clipping through my wonderful hair. I debated for a moment on whether to answer the door, or ignore it so I could devote myself utterly and completely to what I was about to do, but I decided on the former. I put the clippers down, knowing that I was only buying precious minutes for my hair and realizing that I should be thankful for even that.

 

“COMING!” I called as I quickly trotted towards the door, feeling my long, silky hair swishing behind me with each step. If this person at the door had come just a few minutes later, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this sensation, and the thought that soon I would be living a hairless life made me shudder as I opened the door.

 

“Cindy!” I cried out in surprise as my friend stood there with a shy but kind smile on her face, “what are you doing here?”

 

“Oh, just wanted to drop in and talk to you about something,” she said as I embraced her in a hug, her hands sinking deep into my thick, golden hair, and I felt thankful that I would get to feel that sensation even one more time, “are you OK? You looked like you were shivering when you opened the door.”

 

“Oh, no it’s nothing, I was just…” I glanced behind my shoulder to where the silver shears were waiting to devour my hair, “… having a bad dream.”

 

“Oh,” Cindy said, as if I hadn’t said anything bizarre at all, she reached into her purse and pulled out a large vial of pills, then handed them to me, “here, this is for you.”

 

“Huh?” I said, looking at them in confusion, “what are these?”

 

“They’re something we are finishing up with human trials right now,” Cindy said with a big, dopey grin, she was very proud of something, “in a nutshell, they are created to mitigate the protein deposits in human bodies during hard medical treatments. Basically, they inject all fast-growing organs with additional amino acid supplements, while simultaneously stimulating…”

 

“Whoa, Cindy,” I said, getting lost in what she was saying, “English please, what are you saying?”

 

“Oh sorry, I meant to say these should let you keep your hair,” she said simply, like I had just asked her what she had for lunch.

 

“Wha…” I spat out, then my legs nearly gave out as they turned to rubber. Cindy caught me as I stumbled, a look of concern in her eyes, “are you… are you saying, I might not lose my hair after all?”

 

“Mmmm hmmm,” she said happily with an energetic nod, “it basically protects the follicles, keeping them from exposure to the treatments. It’s also designed to strengthen and nourish the hair as well, so you may notice some changes in the condition of your hair… for the better of course! But I really think you are a prime candidate for this drug, so I smuggled some out.”

 

“Oh my God Cindy,” I said quietly, realizing my hair may have just gotten a new lease on life, “I don’t know what to say, how can I thank you?”

 

“You can tell me everything you experience,” she said, still smiling as she placed a small notepad and pen on the table next to me, “write down everything you experience, no matter how trivial. The chemical composition is all based on natural amino strands and structural components in the body, so it’s completely harmless, so the only side effects should be slight cosmetic ones such as small shifts in skin tone, or hair texture, but I figured you wouldn’t mind that as long as you got to keep yours in return. Take one every day from now until you begin treatment, then one the morning of each treatment. Understand?”

 

“Oh Cindy, I love you!” I said as I embraced her again, “even if this doesn’t work, I owe you for at least trying.”

 

“Think nothing of it,” she said as she headed back towards the door, “I need to get to sleep for an early day tomorrow. I really hope this works for you Katie, keep me posted.”

 

I stood there in disbelief, the jar of pills in my hand, then I made my way back to the bathroom. I took out one of the pills, which looked like a gel cap filled with a dark, blue mix, and popped it down my throat, washing it down with a handful of water from the tap. I looked down at the clippers on the counter, gleaming angrily and brightly in the lights, and smiled at them.

 

“Not today you little fuckers,” I said as I picked up the clippers and put them back in the drawer, “not today.”

 
 

To say my chemo treatments sucked was like saying chocolate tasted good. Yeah, at the most basic level of truths it was accurate, but the statement failed to convey the sheer magnitude and power of the truth behind it.

 

For two months straight I pumped my body full of deadly, poisonous chemicals over two long, drawn out, 15 day treatments in an effort to eradicate the terrible disease that threatened my life if left untreated. The treatments made me sicker than I ever thought imaginable, making me feel weak, listless, and utterly destroyed in ways I never thought possible. I lost my appetite, I lost 13 pounds (I was only 131 pounds before the treatments), and on too many occasions to count, I lost my lunch.

 

But one thing that I NEVER lost… was my hair.

 

I was told the first symptoms of my impending hair loss would begin around day seven of the treatment with my hair beginning to look dull and lifeless, with the first signs of shedding beginning around day 12, and my hair completely gone by day 20. I had promised myself that if Cindy’s drug didn’t work and my hair looked like it was going to fall out despite her best efforts, I would shave it myself, so when day seven rolled around I kept an eye out for the first symptoms of imminent hair loss. I waited for the telltale itchy scalp, or my hair to begin losing its luster, or the dry sensation in my locks, but they never came. And when day 12 rolled around, no sign of shedding… or day 13… or 14… or 30.

 

In fact, if anything, Cindy’s miracle drug seemed to go above and beyond what she promised. As the treatments dragged on, my hair seemed to do the impossible and actually got HEALTHIER through it all. My long hair seemed to grow thicker, softer, and more lustrous with every day, and even though my hair looked good before, that was nothing compared to how it looked as my treatments wrapped up.

 

Six days after my final treatment, when the awful chemo symptoms were starting to die down, I got ready for a VERY special occasion. I took a long shower, put on makeup, slipped into a comfortable but adorable green tank top with white trim and tiny white shorts, and…

 

Brushed my hair.

 

I brushed my hair four over an hour straight, marveling at the simple fact that I was actually DOING this against all odds. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed, loving every single stroke of the bristles through my hair, and marveling at the softer, silkier, shinier condition that Cindy’s medicine had left it in.


After I felt like my arm was going to go numb if I brushed anymore, I placed the brush down and just… STARED at it. I was in awe, all of this hair should be gone by now, but instead, it was more beautiful than ever. I reached down and grabbed a handful, then brought it to my face to kiss it. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was, and I seriously owed Cindy a HUGE favor for saving my hair against all odds.

 

I had a new lease on life. Not only were the last traces of my cancer eradicated, but I got to keep my hair, something I never thought I would be able to do. Every day with my hair was a blessing, and I never passed up an opportunity to reach up and simply run my fingers through that magnificent gold silk. My hair had defied death itself, and nothing would ever be able to take it from me.

 

Or so I thought.

 
 

The beginning of the end for my magnificent hair started about three months after that magical night of brushing. Mandy, Robin, and I had just hit the gym, and were hanging out at a local burger place to replace those precious calories we had burnt off. We still wore our gym attire, and didn’t care what we smelled like because… well… food. I was munching on a double cheeseburger, Mandy and Robin, both vegetarians, were digging into salads, and we shared a plate of fries.

 

I myself was wearing a pink Hard Rock Café tank top over my silver spandex workout shorts, my hair tied back into a massive braid that was nearly the size of my arm. Mandy and Robin were both wearing cropped workout tees over skintight black leggings and their cross-trainers. Their hair had really started to look phenomenal lately, shining with more luster and feeling softer than I had ever felt it. Mandy wore her hair in a ponytail from her workout, tied low near the base, while Robin had released her own mane and it hung long and loose after her yoga class.

 

We were laughing and eating in a carefree manner when Cindy barged into the restaurant looking out of breath and frazzled. She looked over to where we sat and rushed over to us, pushing her way into the booth and catching her breath.

 

“I thought I’d find you guys here,” she said between gasps.

 

“Cindy, what the hell’s up with you?” Mandy asked as she popped a fry into her mouth.

 

“I tried calling, but no one was picking up,” she said as she pulled her phone out and began looking something up. Despite her frazzled appearance, she still looked professional in a black silk pantsuit, and it was clear she had just come from her lab.

 

“Oh yeah, they’re still in our gym bags,” Robin said, “but seriously, what’s wrong?”

 

“It’s about Katie,” she said ominously, and I felt my heart stammer for a second as she turned to face me, it took a lot to work up Cindy, “well… actually, it’s about your hair.”

 

“My hair?” I asked, reaching up and gently stroking my golden rope of silk, “what’s wrong with my hair?”

 

Cindy looked at Mandy and Robin, who were both watching with wide eyes.

 

“It’s OK Cindy, they know about the treatments,” I said as I continued to stroke my long braid, “what is it?”

 

“Well… it’s the drugs I gave you,” she said, clearly trying to find the best way to tell me some bad news, “I know it worked, but the long-term side effects studies are coming out, and well… I don’t know how to tell you this Katie, but… it’s not a permanent solution like we were hoping for. The effects are temporary, and unfortunately, you’re going to lose your hair soon.”

 

Mandy and Robin both gasped, but I barely heard them over the shock I felt at that moment. After a few seconds I began to nervously laugh.

 

“OK Cindy, that’s a good one,” I said, still forcing laughter, “you had me for a second.”

 

“It’s true Katie, I’m really sorry,” Cindy said as she pulled a stack of papers from seemingly nowhere and flipped through them to a section highlighted in red, “look here, ‘formula HK-7362 demonstrates unexpected side-effect. Formula causes follicles to absorb protein nutrients present in body at time of administration. Once proteins present at time of administration are exhausted, follicles experience rapid decay and self-terminate, usually within period of 10-15 minutes.”

 

“What the hell does that mean?” I asked, the pit in my stomach growing rapidly and threatening to make me vomit.

 

“It means…” Cindy paused for a moment, trying to think of how to explain it, “OK, imagine all the protein in your body as fuel, and your hair follicles as a car. The equivalent of keeping the engine running is to coat the hair follicles with a protective enzyme, which is what kept the follicle root from dying during the chemo and making your hair fall out, the body needs to reinforce those follicles with proteins already in your body, and it measures how much you have to spare to do so.”

 

“OK,” Mandy, Robin, and I said in unison, why the hell were they so worried? It was MY hair after all that was suddenly in danger.

 

“But the problem is you can’t put more gas in the tank now,” she continued, “HK-7362 effectively seals the tank of the engine, meaning nothing can get to the gas, but it can never be refilled either. Once your body has determined how much protein it can use to reinforce your follicles, it uses that amount and ONLY that amount. It’ll never take more than that, so once it uses up those proteins… your hair will begin to fall out, and it will all be gone in less than half an hour once it starts.”

 

We were silent for a while, just absorbing the information in stunned silence.

 

“So… how long do I have?” I asked quietly.

 

“Yeah, how long does… Katie have?” Mandy asked quickly.

 

“Is there anything we… she can do to stop it?” Robin asked, her hand suddenly going to her own very long, very shiny mane, which still glistened beautifully as of late, despite the recent workout.

 

“What is with you guys?” I asked them quickly, “this is MY hair, you’re taking it harder than I am!”

 

“Oh nooooooo,” Cindy said, looking at the girls.

 

“What?” I asked, curious what I was missing.

 

“Don’t you see Katie?” Cindy said, her eyes looking back and forth from Mandy to Robin in disbelief, “they care about the side effects of your medicine… because they took some of it.”

 

“What? Don’t be ridiculous,” I said flatly, “yeah I told them about it, but they don’t need it, haven’t you seen how gorgeous their hair has looked over the last few… ooooooooooh…”

Understanding blossomed in me, and Mandy and Robin looked down at the table in guilt.

 

“We’re sorry Katie,” Mandy said, stroking her own long, dark brown locks, “you told us you were done with your treatment, and your hair looked SO good! So we just… pocketed some of the extras you weren’t using.”

 

“And look how great our hair looks now!” Robin piped up, reaching into her large mass of thick, wavy red tresses and digging her fingers deep into them in order to fluff up her rich, vibrant red hair, some of her long locks falling into her face and obscuring her right eye, which made her look even more ravishing.


“Well I hope it was all worth it,” Cindy said in an angry tone I’ve never heard her use, “because pretty soon it’s all going to be gone.”

 

“No!” Mandy said as she sagged in her seat, her hand reaching up to continue to stroke her long, glossy locks.

 

“How long do we have?” Robin asked, looking down at her own brilliant red waves.

 

“You’re both vegan, so your counts of true protein was much lower than Katie,” Cindy said angrily, “so I doubt your hair will make it to the end of the week.”

 

Robin sagged in her seat in defeat, her soft waves bouncing delicately with the movement. Despite a long workout, it still billowed beautifully around her shoulders and framed her face beautifully. Mandy opened her mouth to say something, but thought better of it and shut her mouth a second later.

 

“What about me?” I asked softly, and all three sets of eyes turned to me with sympathy in them. All the fire and anger in Cindy’s eyes drained instantly, being replaced with empathy and compassion, I hadn’t done anything wrong after all.

 

“You eat a normal balance of meat, so you’re going to fare better,” Cindy said, her voice getting significantly gentler, “but I’d say you only have a few more months to enjoy your hair.”

 
 

We didn’t know it at the time, but that was the last night we hung out together with all of our hair intact. The next day I was at work when I got a group text from Mandy, one that also went out to Robin and Cindy.

 

Hey Cindy, my head just started to suddenly itch, is that normal?

 

Cindy must have been working or something, because she didn’t respond, and about 15 minutes later a new text popped up in the thread from Mandy, this one with pictures attached.

 

It’s happening guys! Enjoy these last photos, because it’s falling out FAST

 

Attached were two photos of her pressed against her mirror in a modeling pose. She was wearing a bright red shirt and dark, almost gothic makeup, and her hair looked thick and shiny, shimmering in its beautiful, chocolate-colored shade, with hints of rich and vibrant coppery and red natural highlights popping throughout.


Her hair looked so good that I thought she was playing a joke on us, so I tried to call, but it went straight to voicemail every time. Robin texted me to ask if I had been able to get through to her, so clearly she had the same idea.

 

15 minutes later, another text and picture came through, and my mouth dropped when I saw it.

 

It’s all gone, what do you think of the new look?

 

Attached was a photo of Mandy, now as bald as a cue ball, and smiling a sad smile over her now-vanished locks.

 

Mandy took the loss of her beautiful hair rather well, all things considered, but needless to say, Robin was pretty freaked out. Robin’s hair fared a little better, but not much.

 

With her days to enjoy her hair limited, Robin took to enjoying it as much as she could. Long and loose had become the default style for Robin’s hair since she had been informed about its imminent doom, in fact, I don’t recall seeing her put it into something as simple as even a ponytail since Cindy had told her that her days with her hair were limited.

 

She wore it like that four days later at my house to enjoy a nice, friendly dinner and a movie. It looked absolutely beautiful, glistening beautifully in the light and casting gorgeous shades of bright, glowing red with every ray of sunshine that touched it that day. It was like liquid fire, and looked absolutely magnificent.

 

“How do you like your pasta cooked?” I asked as I dropped the linguini into the pot, “al dente, or thoroughly cooked?”

 

“Hmmm…” Robin replied as she reached up and lovingly ran her fingers through her hair, “probably al dente, but I don’t really have a preference.”


“Stop pulling your hair so hard!” I said mock-seriously, “that’s the fourth time I’ve seen you do it in the last hour.”

 

“I can’t help it,” she said as she scratched a little harder, “my head has been so…”

 

She trailed off, and both of our eyes went wide at the same time. Her mouth dropped wide open, and my hand flew to mine.

 

“You don’t think…” I started, then watched as she slowly pulled her hand from her head and brought it in front of her face.

 

I let out a gasp, and Robin let out a loud whimper as we saw several long strands of red-gold hair stuck between her fingers.

 

“No…” Robin whispered as she opened her fingers and dropped the hairs to the ground, “no, not yet… I knew it was coming, but… I’m not ready yet.”

 

She backed against the nearby wall in shock, slowly sliding down it as she began weeping, holding her hair in front of her for what I assumed was one last look at its full glory.


I looked at her hair, shimmering beautifully in the kitchen lights, then walked over to her and gave her a long, deep, reassuring hug, gently running my fingers through her long, silky hair as she began to lightly sob into my shoulder.

 
 

10 minutes later, the final strands slipped off Robin’s head, and she was left as bald as a newborn baby.


Just like Mandy, Robin took it pretty well after she got her sobs out, but as I watched her rubbing her hand over her smooth, bare head while she looked in the mirror, I realized that I was the last one left… and soon my hair would share the same fate as Mandy’s and Robin’s.

 

Since I enjoyed meat on a regular basis, my mane of golden blond magnificence lasted much longer than Mandy and Robin, but as gorgeous as it looked, Cindy continually reminded me that it was living on borrowed time, and would inevitably fall out. She said she didn’t know when my hair would finally succumb to the drug, but four months after Mandy and Robin had watched their own hair fall out they were sporting sweet looking shaggy styles much like the main girl in the first season of Castle, and I couldn’t help but feel that when my own locks fell out, I was going to be way behind the curve for styles when I started growing it back.

 

Another month passed and I was getting ready for the day. I was dressed comfortably in a dark blue zippered bodysuit tucked into tiny denim shorts, and while I was finishing up putting my long, golden silk into playful twin braids, something strange happened. I was tying the second one when suddenly, seemingly of its own consciousness, my hand stopped. I sat motionless for a moment, still holding the long rope of shimmering gold, then suddenly I placed the hair tie on the counter and began to rapidly uncoil my long, thick braid.

 

Much like Robin, I had been very protective of my hair since being told about its impending end. Since my hair’s days were numbered, I figured I needed to cherish it as long as I could, for every moment I could. This had led to me wearing it down, long and loose, and always looking top-notch, or at the very least, in many styles that included it being mostly down. Sometimes I would wear part of it up in the front in a “pouf” hairstyle. Sometimes I would wind small braids throughout the rest of my gorgeous locks as the rest spilled down my back. Sometimes I would style it into thick waves rather than its regular straight style, and on more than one occasion I had curled it with large barrel-curlers to turn it into a massive mane of thick, bouncy curls. But with the exception of putting it into a ponytail during workouts (which managed to be thicker and longer than my arms), my hair was always loose and beautiful.

 

Even today, the simple act of trying to put my hair in a braid for the first time in months was nigh impossible. I knew it was silly, but I wanted to… no, needed to know that I did everything I could to cherish it. It was the least I could do for my hair, which had been my constant companion and security blanket through so many countless adventures.

 

“I can’t do it…” I said as I lovingly ran my fingers through the golden, silken treasure that covered my head, “I’ve gotta enjoy every second with you. No matter how much you bug me, I’ll always cherish you and remember you like you are right now.”

 

As if talking to my luscious locks wasn’t crazy enough, I reached down and grabbed a massive fistful of my hair and brought it to my face appreciatively, relishing in the soft, silky texture as I kissed it affectionately.


I decided something in the middle was appropriate for today, so I put the top portion of my hair into a loose but elaborate French braid, letting the rest spill freely and flow beautifully down my back. It was a nice compromise, and one that came out looking much cuter than it had any right to.


“Alright,” I said to my hair as I let it drop back into position, picked up my purse, and headed towards the door, “let’s live your life to the fullest while we can.

 

I didn’t know that this was the last style I would ever wear my hair in.

 
 

Just over two hours later later I raced through the front door, sobbing quietly in terror and dread as my hair flew around me in a storm of shimmering, golden silk.

 

I paused briefly as I passed by my room, debating whether or not to slip into something better for what I knew was about to happen, but decided to pass on the idea as I continued to the bathroom. Time was of the essence, and my current outfit would work fine for what I knew was coming.

 

My head had started itching… and it was getting worse.

 

“Ohhhhhhhh…” I moaned loudly as I made my way into my bathroom, reaching up and pulling at my hair haphazardly, freeing it from the loose braid at the top of my head and letting it spill down in all of its full glory. I wasn’t in the right state of mind to realize it at that moment, but it was the last time I would ever let my hair down.

 

I made my way to my full-size mirror, reaching deep into my thick hair and lifting it, fanning it, fluffing it, looking at it from every angle for any sign that it was beginning to fall out. I knew it was a pointless act, I knew my hair only had minutes left on this Earth, but I wanted to see just how much time I had left, and to see if I had enough time to say one last goodbye to my hair in its full glory.


I let out a loud sigh of something resembling relief when I noticed that there didn’t seem to be any signs that my hair was beginning to fall out, which meant I had some time. Not much, but some, probably enough to enjoy one last wonderful, soothing brush session with my beautiful locks, and then… something dramatic I had planned.

 

I grabbed my large tooth comb and took another deep breath, closing my eyes as I prepared myself to fully enjoy every single sensation that was to follow, because I knew this would be the last time I would ever be able to enjoy it. Yeah, maybe I would grow it out again when this was over, but I knew that this right here was the longest, healthiest, softest, and shiniest it would ever be, no matter how hard I tried. I let out my breath as I opened my eyes back up, then slowly, sensually, delicately, and most importantly of all, lovingly began to run the brush through my treasured locks.

 

I moaned softly as the bristles slid effortlessly and smoothly through my perfect hair over and over, feeling melancholy at the fact that I would never again feel this sensation. I brushed and brushed, trying to keep a loose grasp on time since I knew I didn’t have much longer until my hair began falling out, and like poor Mandy and Robin, once it began to fall out, I wouldn’t have much time to go through with my final plan. After a lot of brushing, I posed in front of the mirror as I gazed lovingly at my princess hair, admiring its beauty and condition in its final moments.


After a few long, well-earned moments with my perfect mane, I reached up and ran my brush through it a handful of times for good measure to ensure it looked as perfect as it could. It only took a few short strokes before I realized something was wrong, so I pulled the brush from my golden mane and looked down at it. I was saddened, but not surprised to see several long golden strands caught in the bristles, not many, but definitely more than there should have been. My time was up, and I only has a couple minutes left to do what I had planned.

 

Quickly, determinedly, I reached down and picked up the clippers I had bought for this moment, a pair of professional, razor sharp Osters, freshly oiled and about to strip my golden treasure of silken beauty from my head. I snapped them on, repressing the sudden urge to jump at the loud, angry sound emanating from them, like a swarm of furious hornets. I looked up at myself in the mirror one last time, letting out a deep, sad sigh as I fought off a sudden, deep desire to run my fingers through my hair one last time, because I knew if I did I wouldn’t follow through with this.

 

My hair was as good as gone, I knew this. Despite it thickness, luster, and softness, I knew that my hair would be completely gone in less than ten minutes if I stood by and let it fall out on its own. I couldn’t stand this idea, especially after seeing how Robin’s own hair had withered away. I couldn’t let that happen, so I had decided that I would take control of the situation and be the one who stripped away my magnificent mane, like I had planned to do when I thought chemo would be the thing that made me go bald. I knew it would be hard, but I also knew letting it happen while I stood there watching would be 100X harder.

 

So here I was, clippers in hand, about to strip off the most beautiful, luscious head of hair in existence. I faltered for a moment, but only a moment, as I knew every passing second was leading to more and more hair falling from my head. I let out the breath I forgot I had been holding, glanced at my hair one last time, and brought the clippers up to the middle of my hairline.

 

What was happening to my hair ensured that it would all be gone within 8 minutes, but as the clippers bit into my thick hairline, I had a moment where I wished that I had just let it fall out if it meant I would have even one more minute with my beloved hair. But that moment passed as I realized that this was the right decision, and I saw the first strands of golden silk float downward past my eyes and onto the floor. I kept pushing the clippers back deeper and deeper into my golden mane, the clippers kicking severing what felt like pounds of lush, shining silk from my head the deeper and deeper they plowed.

 

The first strands that had fallen in front of my eyes had floated lightly like feathers, but as the clippers made their first pass and reached the back of my head, so much hair fell from the top of my head that when it finally fell, it did so like a rock. The first pile of hair fell straight to the ground, making an audible thud as it hit the hardwood due to its immense weight that shouldn’t have been possible. I had only made one pass with the clippers, and there was already enough hair on the floor to make several wigs.

 

I moved the clippers to the left of the first pass, stripping another mass of my heavy locks into nothingness. Another pass, and another pound of gold spilled onto the floor, fanning over the wood as the pile hit the floor. One last pass and I ridded myself of the last traces of hair from the left side of my head, sideburns and all.

 

I paused for a moment and looked at myself in the mirror, knowing I would need to finish the job soon if I didn’t want to see the remainder of my hair sliding from my head. I was transfixed by the look, half of my head still covered in my beautiful hair, the other half bare and shaved, it was… bizarre! I took another breath and turned the clippers back on, then went to work eliminating the remaining half of my hair.

 

Three more passes and the pile of hair on the floor was nothing short of shocking. My feet were covered in hair… massive piles of it, but I pushed it out of my head while I reached up to finish the job. I took another pass, moving it quickly over my head, and leaving nothing but the sideburns on the right side. The final traces of my once-glorious mane, now reduced to nearly nothing in the blink of an eye.


I steeled myself in the face of removing the final remnant of what had been a gorgeous, otherworldly head full of rich, shimmering silk, then pushed the clippers back for their final harvest of my magnificent hair. All that remained were my sideburns and a small strip of untouched hair, but somehow, this was the hardest pass of all. The finality of my hair’s end, as well as the weight of what I had just done hitting me at once, was almost too much to bare, but I closed my eyes resolutely against any possible tears as the final strands of hair were separated from my head. It was over… my hair was gone… forever.

 

I looked at myself in the mirror, not quite believing what I was seeing. My long, blonde tresses, which had been my pride and joy just three minutes ago, were gone… vanished… no more. Instead of my face being framed by mounds of lush, soft silk, it was now bare and exposed, showing off every single feature and imperfection. The I expected the stubble to be a lighter shade, but at this length it was a light brown shade, which I found very odd. I should have hated it… but strangely… I didn’t, in fact… I looked kind of… cute!

 

The clippers were no longer vibrating in my hand. Curious, I looked down at them, and realized I had switched them off without even realizing it. I placed them on the counter, then ran my hands over my newly shorn head. The feeling was… indescribable. Instead of being met with the wonderful, reassuring sensation of my rivers of soft, living silk rustling softly between my fingers like a waterfall, my stubble instead felt harsh and unforgiving… like a desert… of sandpaper.

 

I brought my hands down to my face to look at them, and noticed they were covered in tiny bits of hair. At first I thought it was just remnants from the shave, but then I remembered that I was still losing my hair, even thought it was almost entirely gone. I wanted to capture this moment before the last traces of my hair vanished entirely, so I slipped into a tan turtleneck, took out my phone, and snapped a photo while the stubbly pelt covering my head was still mostly intact.


The stubble continued to flake off of my head like dandruff, and before long I noticed much thinner patches in my hairline. Not long after that the thin areas became the rule rather than the exception, a few minutes later and those thin patches rapidly became bare patches, and a few minutes after that, I wiped away the last traces of stubble right off of my head with a wet towel. I was now completely bald, and hopefully for the only time in my life.

 

I ran a hand over my completely bare head, astonished at how rubbery and strange it felt, and immediately realized just how much I was already missing my hair. I would have given anything to run my fingers through that magnificent hair even one more time.

 

But then I thought to myself that I couldn’t complain. Chemo should have taken my hair 6 months ago, but I had been able to keep my hair thanks to Cindy’s wonder tonic. Not only that, but in these final 6 months my hair had been softer and more beautiful than I ever thought it could be. Cindy may have seen my hair loss as a failure, but I needed to remind myself to buy her lunch and thank her for giving me a wonderful opportunity to properly say goodbye to my beloved tresses.

 

I looked down at the impossibly massive pile of hair on the floor, smiling sadly that just minutes ago this had been covering my hair. But its time had passed, and it was time to figure out how to move forward from here.

 
 

As it turns out, I never truly recovered from that night.

 

Mandy and Robin decided to grow their hair back, and four years later they had both more or less been reunited with their beautiful manes as they had once been. Cindy had taken the opportunity to grow her own hair out, and her lovely, glossy black hair now spilled all the way down to the bottom of her butt, like mine once had, and it looked GREAT.

 

But as for me, I never really felt like I would ever be able to be reunited with my amazing hair, and had quickly abandoned my quest around the time my hair had grown to my shoulder blades. These days I wore my hair in a sleek and stylish chin-length bob with thick bangs instead.


It looks super cute and all, but whenever I think back to those wonderful nights where I would just brush my hair for an hour straight, I always remember my hair the way it was, and I crave it. I often think about that final style I had haphazardly put it in, the top part of my hair quickly braided in a French braid, and the rest hanging loose, and for some reason, I always think back to that style and how I wish I had had more days to try it out. I always privately wish I could wear that style just one more time, and I secretly wonder if one day I might find the resolve to start growing it back out again.

 

And maybe one day, be reunited with that hair once again.

 

THE END

 

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One response to “Postponing the Inevitable

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write and share this one. I love how Katie wants to grow her hair back, but instead of returning to her glamorous mane, she settles for the supercute bob (especially when she was almost there with her midback locks already…)

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