The Flatmate

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NOTE: This story is inspired by a recent viral Reddit post that has been making the rounds. I am not, nor do I know, the individual who posted the story.

 

“What do you mean she’s copying you Becca?” my boyfriend Tim asked as our food arrived at our table.

 

“I mean EXACTLY that,” I said as I popped a fry into my mouth, “she’s copying everything about me. My clothes, my style, EVERYTHING. It’s CREEPY Tim.”

 

Tim’s eyes went wide, he let out a sigh of compassion, his eyes darting back and forth thinking of what to say or how to react. I smiled warmly at him, as his worry for me was readily apparent on his face.

 

Tim and I had been dating for 3 months now, and things couldn’t have been going better. We had met in our biology class and hit it off like none other. He was 21, a year older than me, tall, athletic, and dreamy, with a striking resemblance to Henry Cavill. Just like Cavill, he was a huge nerd like me too, and loved gaming, movies, and board games.

 

I was no slouch in the looks department as well. At 5’6” I was a good half a foot shorter than Tim. My skin was rather dark thanks to my mixed race heritage (my mom was white and my dad was Jamaican), and I tanned really well with even the slightest amount of sun. I had rich, light hazel eyes, a killer body from years of soccer, perky C breasts, and mounds of thick, wavy dark hair that fell nearly to the bottom of my butt. I was dressed to look cute and casual today in a white spaghetti-strap tank top, sandals, and a pair of tight, shiny black shorts.

 

Tim and I had been getting pretty serious, and he always wanted to see my dorm, but I was always super hesitant to take him back there because of this girl on the same floor of my dorm, Catherine. Catherine and I had always been friendly, but lately, things had been getting very weird between us.

 

It had started with her copying a few small details about myself, a few accessories, sunglasses, bracelets, little things like that. I didn’t even notice it at first, as my friends had been the ones to bring it up, but I didn’t mind… for a while. But as time went on, accessories turned to outfits, sunglasses turned to mannerisms, and it felt like she was getting more and more desperate to find reasons to come over and try to hang out with me. My friend Jennifer had even taken a picture of her room when she had gone over to study with her, and she had somehow replicated my own dorm room EXACTLY with nothing more than a quick peek she had taken of my room when she had asked if she could borrow a couple ingredients.

 

She had even tried to join the same clubs I was in. College newspaper? She joined it after she found out I worked there. Video game club? She joined it even though she sucked at them. Dungeons and Dragons club? Joined without even knowing how to play! She had even tried out for soccer when she found out I was on the team but had been cut rather quickly, which was a relief. Soccer was my sanctuary time, and I didn’t want some weirdo impeding on my personal favorite time for myself.

 

But it didn’t stop there. If I showed any interest in a guy, she would IMMEDIATELY find out and work to get their attention, flirting like no other, even though she knew I was going for them. Two and a half months ago when Tim and I had begun dating, we were watching a movie in the common area when, lo and behold, Catherine walked by wearing nothing but a towel, with some ridiculous claim that she was on her way to the shower (which I knew for a fact she always walked to fully dressed). She had introduced herself and said she would take a quick shower, then invited herself to join us when she was done. Needless to say, we had both left immediately and gone to an actual movie instead.

 

“She’s even copying my hair now! My HAIR of all things!” I cried out in frustration.

 

Tim knew how much I absolutely loved my hair. It was a rich, beautiful, dark brown that fell in thick, effortless curls, with natural hints of gold, red, and copper mixed throughout. It was incredibly thick, and the natural waves gave it a lot of effortless body, but it was also unbelievably soft to the touch as well. Right now (like most days) I wore it long and loose, a shimmering, glistening fall of rich brown silk that rippled down my back beautifully in delicate, springy curls, the ends resting at the middle of my butt.


“What do you mean? Like curling her hair so it looks the way yours does?” Tim asked.

 

I pulled out my phone and went to her Facebook page, found a recent photo of her, and slid it over to Tim. He looked at it and his eyes went wide.

 

“Whaaaaaat the hell?” he said, and I just nodded.

 

When Tim had met Catherine in her towel her hair had been a light, almost platinum blond that had hung down to her hips. Now in the picture it had been dyed a deep, rich brown, almost the exact same as mine, with curls added to it to give it a wavy look. The curls had caused her to lose a few inches, and it now fell to the small of her back, but I knew for a fact she would keep growing it until it got to my length EXACTLY. The new look really looked good on her, but it was DEFINITELY an attempt to copy my own luscious locks.


“I KNOW!” I said as I took my phone back and put my face into my hands, my long, soft curls spilling over my hands and onto the table, “she keeps saying she’s not copying me, but this is getting ridiculous! At this point I could probably shave my head and she’d follow suit.”

 

I looked up at Tim and saw a look on his face that meant the wheels were turning for an idea.

 

“That’s a great idea!” he said as he looked at me with a wild grin, “let’s do it!”

 

“Oh, you outta your mind white boy,” I said as I reached up with both hands and held up my soft curls on either side of my head, “if you think I’m shaving this to prove a point, you’re crazier than I thought.”

 

“No, no, no, GOD no,” he said, reaching across the table and gently reaching his hands deep into my thick mane to massage the back of my head reassuringly, “I don’t want to change a damn thing about this head of hair, I’m saying we trick her into thinking you did while we take out little vacation.”

 

“Explain,” I said, my interested piqued as he continued to massage the back of my head, his fingers feeling heavenly as the gently squeezed my silky waves.

 

“We photoshop a picture of you with a shaved head in a couple days and a caption like ‘things got crazy this spring break’ and post it on your Facebook,” he started, and my eyes grew wide at the idea, “when we get back next week, we see if she shaved her head to look like you. At that point, she either still has hair and it breaks her of this habit, or she’s shaved and proves she IS copying you.”

 

“That’s… kind of brilliant,” I said with a chuckle as I fiddled with the ends of my hair, “Oh my God, if she DOES shave her head, can you imagine how mad she will be when she sees I didn’t do it?”

 

“I can’t even imagine,” Tim said, and we laughed.

 

Little did I know how much I would come to regret those words.

 
 

The next day Tim and I left for my parent’s beach house, which they were letting us borrow for the trip. That weekend was magical, nothing but sun and surf and little fruity cocktails… and a whole lot of time alone with Tim.

 

On Tuesday we decided to put Tim’s plan into action, so I snapped a selfie of me as we were heading out to dinner (I was already super dark from tanning, and with my hair spilling down my back in luscious, beachy curls) for my social media, along with a caption that read Get your last looks, because ALL this hair is coming off tonight.


We wined and dined, and by the time we got back to the hotel I was met by tons of comments from tons of friends freaking out about my hair. Tim and I worked up a quick photoshop of me bald, then posted it as we laughed.

 

“You look cute without hair babe,” Tim said with a chuckle as he finished with the photo.

 

“Oh God, don’t get any ideas weirdo,” I said as I draped my hair over my shoulders to show it off, “because I don’t have any intentions of getting rid of this.”

 
 

The rest of the trip went wonderfully, and I forgot about our plan as we has a great time. By the time I got back to my dorm I had a spring in my step as I walked down the hall, my long, thick curls bouncing playfully against my back with every step I took. I smiled as I reached up and squeezed my playful curls. The beach had really done a good number on them, they felt thicker and fluffier than they normally did, and super soft without a hint of frizz. The sun and water had REALLY made my coppery-red highlights pop, and it was amazing how just a little extra love could make hair as gorgeous as it was now.


I was so enamored with the condition of my hair as I played with it that I didn’t realize I was a few doors from my room. That was when I saw Catherine… and my heart stopped in my chest.

 

Catherine’s own long, shiny waves were gone… completely gone, and she was sporting a head as bare as the day she was born. She had done it, she had shaved her head at the idea of me shaving mine, which proved she was nuttier than squirrel shit.


And she was right in front of me!

 

I tried to duck behind a wall, but before I could think I saw her turn to face me, and saw a myriad of expressions flash across her face. First was recognition, then happiness, then confusion, then anger, then her eye began twitching worryingly, all of this happened in less than 5 seconds, and I stood there paralyzed.

 

She walked up to me, and I fought the urge to run. Clearly this woman was insane, but running wouldn’t solve anything. I had to face this head-on.

 

“What… the hell… is this?” Catherine said as she approached me, her head actually glistening in the hallway lights.

 

“Um… hi Catherine,” I said nervously, “what’s wrong?”

 

“What’s wrong? WHAT’S WRONG?!?” Catherine said, rage filling her face, then she reached out and quickly motioned at my hair, the quick movement causing it to flutter in the wind created by her hand, “this shit on your head! That’s what’s wrong! I thought you were going to shave your head!”

 

“Well, it was just an inside joke,” I replied, nervously tucking a long, silken curl behind my ear and suddenly thankful for the crowd beginning to form around us thanks to the commotion, “why did you shave your head? I thought you weren’t trying to copy me.”

 

“YOU THOUGHT…” she said angrily, but then looked around nervously, suddenly also aware of the crowd, “I don’t know what you’re trying to pull Becca, but you are SO going to regret this.”

 

She stormed away from me, slamming the door to her room, and I felt my friend Jen come running up to me and grab my arm.

 

“Oh my God Becca, she’s LOST it!” she said as she gently stroked my long hair, “are you OK?”

 

“I’m… I’m OK,” I spat out nervously, “I just… I think I just need a drink.

 
 

“I mean it Tim, I’ve never seen so angry,” I told Tim over the phone as I got ready for bed, “it was like something in her head just… broke! She even demanded to transfer out of the dorm, and now she’s gone.”

 

“Hey, that’s great!” Tim said, “so all you’ve told me so far is good stuff, I’m not seeing a downside here.”

 

I chuckled as I slipped one of Tim’s oversized water polo t-shirts (my favorite new sleep shirt) over my head.

 

“I don’t know darling, I feel like maybe we went a bit too far with this one,” I said as I sat on the edge of the bed, “I’m starting to feel bad. I mean… I’d be CRUSHED if I shaved my head for absolutely no reason.”

 

“Yeah sure babe, but what if that reason was pure insanity?” Tim replied, and I let out a loud breath of non-verbal agreement, “I mean, it was 100% her decision to do this, we didn’t encourage it at all. In fact, if anything, you and I were both hoping this would BREAK her of the crazy and she WOULD.”

 

“Yeah, true,” I replied as I slipped out of my bra and tossed it in my dresser, “but still, we both knew the crazy was in there, I feel like we still kind of encouraged this.”

 

“Correction, I kind of encouraged this,” Tim replied, and I giggled, “you’re blameless in this babe. Don’t feel bad, because it was my idea and I sure as hell don’t. But hey I’ve gotta get going, I’ll see you tomorrow, OK?”

 

“You got it handsome,” I said, and hung up.

 

I looked at myself in the mirror, my voluminous hair put up in a massive ponytail with two loose and curly tendrils contouring either side of my face beautifully. Despite Tim’s reassuring words, I still felt a strange sense of guilt over still having all this soft, luscious hair still adorning my head, while Catherine now had none.

 

Catherine had, in fact, transferred out of our dorm the day she had seen me with my voluminous mass of silky curls still attached to my head. She had apparently moved all of her stuff out in less than 90 minutes, and had been gone for several hours before I was even aware of it. I felt relief and sadness at her departure. Relief because I didn’t have to see her anymore, and sadness because as crazy as she was, I hoped this was a step for her in receiving the help I knew she needed.

 

But as I looked at myself in the mirror, I was overcome with a sudden and inexplicable desire to protect my hair. I pulled my ponytail over my shoulder and pressed it lovingly against the side of my head, taking in the wonderful sensation of soft, fluffy silk rubbing my cheek, and the rich, enchanting aroma of my mane. I don’t know what I was feeling, but something deep, deep inside me told me to cherish my hair as much as I possibly could.

 
 

Time passed after Catherine shaved her head, and for a while, life felt like it returned to normal. Two weeks later, I began to get a strange sensation that I was being watched at random times of the day. It was an unsettling feeling, and as time went on I swore I would catch glimpses of a bare head peaking at me from around the corner of a building, but by the time I raced to where I thought I saw something, no one was there.

 

I thought I was being paranoid, that I was seeing things, but then one day, just over a few weeks after Catherine had left my dorm, my feelings of paranoia were vindicated… at a horrible cost.

 
 

BZZZZZZZZZT!

 

I jumped awake at the sound of what sounded like a nest of angry insects buzzing next to my head, my long, silky curls bouncing softly with the movement. As I opened my eyes and looked around, I realized something was horribly wrong. I had dropped into my bed and passed out after dinner, a sudden wave of exhaustion catching up with me, but as I awoke I realized I wasn’t lying in bed, but was seated in a chair. I tried to stand-up, but I was tied to the chair at the waist, my feet tied together and my hands bound in my lap. I tried to cry out, but there was tape across my mouth.

 

“You really shouldn’t struggle,” I heard a familiar voice say behind me, and my eyes grew wide in terror as Catherine walked around the chair and stood in front of me, “if you want any chance of saving that beautiful hair you’re so proud of, you should just do what I say.”

 

I snapped my head to the side to look at my mirror, terrified that she had already done something to my beloved cascading curls, but thankfully my beautiful mane was still long, shiny, and completely intact. In fact, it looked like she had undone my long ponytail and styled my hair loose and flowing while I had been passed out, my dark curls spilling magnificently and completely hiding the back of the chair, so long that the tips nearly touched the floor, and I had to hand it to her, she may be crazy, but DAMNED if my hair didn’t look phenomenal. I was still wearing the tiny black lycra athletic shorts and white tank-top I had worn to bed, so at least this weirdo hadn’t undressed me.

 

“I wanted so badly to be like you,” Catherine continued, a strange vacant gleam in her eye, “I thought we could be such great friends, you’re funny, popular, and even though I’m furious with you over what you did, I can admit beautiful as well. I even tried to be like you, and how did you repay me? You tricked me! You made me shave my hair… my beautiful hair… right off my head!”

 

I shook my head, maybe a little harder than I needed to, causing my curls to swish glamorously around my head in a storm of dark, glistening silk with the movement.

 

“Don’t deny it, I KNOW that’s why you did it,” she said, venom coming out with every word, “it was cruel and mean, and I should just turn these things on and plunge them right into your hairline for it.”

 

As I watched in horror, she flipped on the clippers and began slowly bringing them to my hairline. I pushed myself back in the chair, screaming into the tape in impotent rage as I tilted my head back in an effort to save my beloved curls, but it only bought me a split second of time as the clippers made contact with my forehead, and slowly moved towards my hairline. I screamed, which barely came out as a muffled noise through the tape, but at the last second she snapped the clippers off and pulled back, leaving my luscious locks intact.

 

“But… I’m going to be the bigger person and let you keep your hair,” she said, then a glimmer of danger returned to her eyes, and she smiled cruelly at me, “IF… you can answer a few questions for me honestly. Lie to me, and you get a warning. Lie to me again, and I sever a lock of those beautiful curls. Lie to me a third time, and… well… let’s just say you and I will end up looking alike after all.”

 

She rubbed a hand over her own severed hair, which had grown from bare skin to a soft pelt of hair that looked somewhat capable of moving under her hand, and I shuddered at the nightmarish thought of my curls being replaced with a pelt like that. Catherine may have had no problem shaving her long brown hair (which had, admittedly, been quite beautiful), but I had no intention of doing the same so easily.

 

“So… first question,” she said, leaning in close to me to look at me menacingly, “where did we first see each other? Was it at the Delta House party?”

 

I thought for a moment, then remembered first being introduced to her at our Dorm welcoming party, so I shook my head.

 

“Was it at the welcoming party at our dorm?” she continued.

 

I nodded emphatically.

 

“Ohhhhh, I’m sorry, that is WRONG!” she said, sounding anything but sorry, “the first time we saw each other was move-in day. We made eye contact from across the hall and nodded to each other. I remember because that mane of yours is easy to remember, which is ironic because if you don’t step it up, that’s all it’s going to be… a memory.”

 

I grunted into the tape, it was a trick question and she knew it.

 

“Nine more questions,” she said, tapping the clippers against her cheek tauntingly, “Get this next one wrong, and you lose a lock of that hair…”

 
 

I answered the next six questions without incident, each correct answer was met with a smile from Catherine that I honest to God couldn’t tell was either genuine happiness that I remembered something about our past, or condescension. Either way, it terrified me.

 

I was on question eight, and starting to build up hope that maybe, just maybe… I would be able to get away from this situation with my hair completely intact, when suddenly…

 

“WRONG!” Catherine exclaimed, and I turned my head quickly to face her, my eyes wide in shock, “I do NOT have a tattoo of a hummingbird on my shoulder, it’s a picture of a butterfly!”

 

I wanted to kick myself, I had seen that tattoo countless times because of Catherine’s tendency to wear tank tops, and I had never taken a few seconds to actually LOOK at what it was.

 

I was shaken out of my self-loathing session however when I felt Catherine pinch one of my long curls from the crown of my head and hold it straight up. I heard the clippers come on, then felt a sudden wave of nausea as I felt them make contact with my lock at the base of my head, so close to the skin that it felt like it was cutting into me. I heard a horrible sound as the clippers severed the lock, something between a grinding and a buzzing, and then I felt the tension from that lock vanish instantly.

 

Catherine dropped the long lock in my lap. I watched as it floated down, landing softly in my lap, and I moaned uncontrollably as I looked down at it. It was small, about the width of my pinky, but it wasn’t the loss of hair that made me sick. It was what it represented… and what I knew was coming if I missed either of the next questions. As I looked down at the lock in my lap, the rest of my long, soft, curly mane spilled around my head, and reminded me that I was out of chances, and the next mistake meant all this gorgeous hair would be gone forever.

 

“Relax, you can’t even notice it,” Catherine said as she swung the clippers menacingly in front of my face, almost as if she read my mind, “but one more mistake and the rest of those curls join it. Question nine, what is my favorite fast food joint? Is it Taco Bell?”

 

What the hell, does she really expect me to know this?!? I thought, Oh God, I’m screwed! Goodbye my beautiful hair.

 

I shook my head, not knowing what to answer.

 

“Is it McDonald’s?” she continued.

 

Again, I shook my head.

 

“Is it Wendy’s?” she asked.

 

The word jogged a memory in my head, and I remember seeing a Wendy’s bag in her dorm room, so I nodded nervously.

 

“Wow, correct!” she said, this time genuine surprise crossing her face, “I didn’t think you’d remember that time I told you when we first met.”

 

Really? THAT’S how she expected me to know?

 

“So this is it… one more question, and one more chance…” Catherine said, smiling a cruel smile at me, “but first…”

 

Catherine reached out towards me and I recoiled, my soft hair fluttering delicately, but she grabbed the chair and quickly turned it so we were both facing the mirror. She pressed her face against mine as we both faced the mirror, that evil smile still on her mouth.

 

“First… I want you to take a good long look at your hair,” she said, “take in its beauty, appreciate its natural shape, because this could very well be the last time you ever do so.”

 

As angry as I was at her, it was good advice, so I looked at my hair in the mirror, which fell softly around my head and framed my face beautifully. It looked absolutely ravishing, and I lamented that I may very well be moments from losing it all.

 

“So soft,” Catherine said as she lifted my long, wavy locks and let them drop back into place, and I hated that she might be the last person to ever touch my hair, “you know, I’ve always wanted to play with your hair, but not like this.”

 

After another moment, she dropped my hair, and her face grew serious.

 

“This is it… last question…” and we both took deep breaths simultaneously, “one of the first things I ever told you was my middle name, you told me how cute it was. What is it?”

 

SHIT! I thought out loud, why can’t I remember?

 

“Is it Lee?” she asked. I thought on it, but it didn’t sound right, so I shook my head.

 

“Is it Stacy?” she asked, again, I shook my head.

 

She asked me seven more names, none of them sounded right. I could tell she was trying to trick me, trying to make me insecure about how many times I’ve said no, and it was working. Every time I shook my head, I felt like I was wrong, that she would scream WRONG again and shave off my beloved dark curls, but it didn’t happen, and she kept going.

 

“Is it Michelle?” she asked, and I shook my head again, “is it Sanders?”

 

I almost shook my head out of habit, but then realized that was it! That was the name she had told me, so I nodded enthusiastically, ecstatic that I had saved my hair, and desperate to get out of this chair. I didn’t know what would happen, if she would simply leave and make me work my way out of the bindings, or if she would make me promise not to scream while she undid the bindings herself. At that point I just wanted this to be over, so I would agree to anything that she…

 

“WRONG!” she screamed, making my heart stop in terror and causing me to jump in my seat so hard that I almost fell over, “WRONG WRONG WROOOOOOOOONG! My last name is SANDERSON, not Sanders.”

 

My eyes grew wide and my stomach dropped, I was so sure I had been right!

 

“Which means,” Catherine said, then I heard the horrible POP and droning BZZZZZZ near my ear as she started the clippers, “it’s time to lose that hair.”

 

“MMMMMMFFFFFFFFFMMMMMM!” I tried to scream, but the tape muffled my screams. I watched in terror as she approached with the clippers, pushing myself deeper and deeper into the chair to try and get away from the roaring clippers. I knew it was futile, and as the clippers came closer and closer, I turned my head to look at myself one last time in the mirror, my gorgeous, glossy, dark curls spilling around my head in their final moments, shimmering and dancing defiantly in the face of the horrible end they were about to meet.

 

Goodbye my beautiful hair, I thought, and then suddenly and violently, the clippers made contact with the front of my hairline.

 

I had always heard that curly hair was much harder to use clippers on that regular hair because of the texture, but Catherine must have sharpened her clippers to a razor’s edge because they sliced through the first patch of my curls without even slowing. The clippers moved steadily through the front of my hair line, severing huge masses of dark, glistening curls of the softest silk in seconds and causing them to begin slowly spilling gently into my lap, joining the lone curl that laid delicately in my lap from earlier. At the time I was hoping that lock would be the only casualty in Catherine’s quest to steal away my precious mane, but now it was the first of my beautiful tresses to fall to Catherine’s psychotic crusade.

 

The clippers moved further back towards the crown of my head, slashing through my masses of silken curls and leaving nothing but barren stumps of dark stubble where there had once been piles of lush, soft, hair. It was like a tiny re-enactment of a rainforest being slashed and burned, but this one hit much closer to home because the forest was my beautiful hair!

 

Finally, the clippers came to a stop at my crown, and I felt Catherine reach for the wavy locks that had collected there from the pass and lift them. A second later she dropped them into my lap, and I wanted to cry when I saw the pile of my beloved hair that was quickly accumulating. There was already enough hair in my lap to cover three people’s heads, and this was just after one pass! How much more could possibly join it?

 

I didn’t need to wait long to find my answer, and Catherine wordlessly and ruthlessly began another pass, just to the left of the first strip of bare head. Whether it was because there was less hair there or because Catherine felt comfortable with the process, the second pass seemed to be finished much faster than the first, and Catherine dropped another massive pile of dark, curly, silk into my lap with no emotion.

 

My hair was vanishing at a terrifying rate, being stripped away cruelly by a woman who had been worshipping it just a couple of weeks ago. I was forced to watch as my pride and joy was systematically stripped away, falling around me in a heavy rain of glistening, bouncy curls. It wasn’t long before the left side of my head was finished, and I was met with the shocking contrast of feeling the cold air on that side of my head, and my long, delicate waves still billowing down my right.

 

Catherine went to work fixing that right away, moving the clippers to the right side and beginning to strip away my remaining hair. By now, the pile of hair in my lap was far too massive for it to contain, and my curls began dropping from my lap onto the floor, piling up so fast that they nearly reached my knees. Catherine worked around the back of my head and took the hair from there and my temple first on the right side. Before long, all that remained of my magnificent lion’s mane of curls was a single large patch covering the top of my head on the right side, but as I watched helplessly, Catherine lifted that hair, moved the clippers into the patch, and severed the last traces of my glorious mane.


My beautiful head of soft, bouncing curls, my pride and joy, my crowning jewel, was gone… just like that.

 

I sat there, motionless, silent, horrified at what had happened. I was so shocked that I almost didn’t feel Catherine loosening my bindings ever so slightly.

 

“There, you should be able to work your way out with about 15 minutes of wriggling,” she said in her angry voice, but I thought I heard something else in it as well, something like regret, “I’ll be long gone by then.”

 

I watched as she made her way to the door and opened it, then paused for a moment before turning to face me.

 

“I wish we could have been friends,” she said, and I never wanted to curse someone out more in my life. Then, with one last sad look, she walked out the door and shut it behind her.

 
 

Catherine had been right about the bindings, and after about 17 minutes of struggling, I was able to work my way out of them. I got out of the chair and tore the tape off my mouth, then called the cops immediately and reported what had happened. As I waited for them to show up, I walked sadly over to the massive pile of curly silk that laid on the floor, picking it up and sadly squeezing it in my hands, rubbing it between my fingers. Over 5 years of hard work… of deep conditionings and hair treatments, countless hours of drying and styling… all gone in less than 5 minutes.

 

After lamenting my loss, I dropped my hair, then made my way to the mirror. There were still a few stray strands clinging to my head, so I picked up the clippers she had left behind and used them so sever those final sporadic strands, finishing the job in a very non-dramatic way. As I did so, I kept having flashbacks to my hair as it had been just a couple hours ago, long, and thick, and soft… playfully bouncing with every step in a way that only my gorgeous curls were capable of.


That was when the tears that I had been holding back for so long finally broke free, and I cried for the beloved curls I had been forced to give up against my will.

 
 

The police showed up 15 minutes later, and I filed a report with them. As they were leaving my dorm, I heard Tim’s frantic voice coming down the hall.

 

“Becca! Becca!” he nearly screamed.

 

I wanted to hide, I didn’t want him to see me like this, but I decided that maybe this was like a band-aid that was better ripped off quickly.

 

“Tim,” I said quietly as he rounded the corner into the room, then he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw me.

 

He stood there, motionless for a moment, then he walked towards me, a look of sadness on his face. He reached out and held my face in his hands, shaking his head sadly.

 

“Oh my God, I heard what happened,” he said quietly as he looked into my eyes, “are you OK?”

 

“I… I don’t know…” I said honestly, “my hair… it’s… it’s all gone… and it’s because of what I did.”

 

“No… don’t say that, this is MY fault,” he said, and I felt my heart break at the words, “I antagonized her with my stupid idea.”

 

“It’s not your fault,” I said, melting into his arms, “she’s crazy, there’s no way we could know this would happen. And now… now I look like… I look like…”

 

“You look like you’re just as beautiful as the day I met you,” Tim said before I could her out the word weirdo, “I love you.”

 

I sob/laughed at him, it was the first time he had ever said it.

 

“Really?” I asked, and he nodded.

 

“Really,” he said simply, “I am hopelessly, desperately, madly in love with you, and a little less hair isn’t phasing that at all.”

 
 

After I settled down and we talked, Tim and I just decided to take it easy. We sat there, talking, planning what to do next, the whole time he gave me a shoulder massage to ease my muscles that had been bound for so long. After a while, and with a cautious hand, he reached up to rub my stubble. I almost told him to stop, I will still so uncomfortable with what had just happened, but decided it was OK. He did so gently and lovingly, and I realized that I actually didn’t mind him doing so.

 

As the night went into the early morning however, his hand kept returning to the stubble, and then something shocking happened.

 

“It’s soft,” he said simply as he rubbed it, “like… REALLY soft… and stubbly at the same time.”

 

“I know, isn’t it awful?” I asked. He didn’t answer, at first I thought it was to spare my feelings, so I asked again, “I said, isn’t it awful?”

 

“Not at all,” he replied quickly, continuing to rub my head, “it’s… different.”

 

Then I realized what he was getting at, and I turned to face him.

 

“Oh my GOD!” I said, my mouth dropping, “you actually LIKE my shaved head!”

 

“No, no, no, not like that. I don’t ‘like’ it as much as I…” his face contorted into contemplation, and then suddenly, a smile broke out on it, “you know what? Yeah! I DO like it!”

 

“Holy shit! You’re a freak!” I said laughing as I threw a pillow at him, hoping my good spirit translated into him not thinking I was insulting him, “you never told me you like women with shaved heads!”

 

“To be honest, I never knew,” he said, standing up and rubbing his hands over my head again, “but… then I saw you with one and… I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because you’re the only woman I’ve ever met with one, and you just happen to be the only woman I’ve ever loved.”

 

I smiled warmly at him, then realized with horror that I had been so overwhelmed with him the first time he said it, that I hadn’t said it back! Time to fix that.

 

“I love you too,” I said honestly, and I kissed him. It was a long, sweet kiss, and we worked our way to my bed, where we “expressed” our love for the first time in our relationship.

 
 

That had been nearly 5 years ago. In that time, Tim and I had graduated, gotten married, and had opened a comic shop together. I ran the shop, and he handled the finances, we were a good match for each other, true soul mates in every sense of the word.

 

Following the incident, Catherine had been arrested and charged with the assault. I had spoken at the trial, and she had been deemed insane by the court. The last I heard, she had been getting the help she so desperately needed, but I hadn’t heard anything more since a couple years ago. I sincerely wished her the best.

 

Sadly, Tim’s favorite hairstyle was not long for this world. As much as he loved my shaved head, and as much as he made me comfortable wearing it, he had made me promise that I would do what I wanted with my hair. All I wanted more than anything on Earth was to be re-united with my long, glistening, bouncing head of soft curls. So I had grown out my hair, and I immediately went to work restoring them to their full glory. By the time we were married 3 years ago, it had fallen to my shoulder blades, just over a year ago when we had opened the shop, it had fallen to under my bra strap, and it now hung past my waist, past the small of my back, and spilled all the way to just under the top of my butt, barely two inches from where it had fallen the night I had lost it.

 

Luckily, my hair had lost none of its thickness, sheen, or luster. The natural red, copper, and gold highlights still intermixed beautifully in my rich curls, the texture was just as soft and healthy as I remembered it, and my curls bounced just as playfully and perkily with every step as I remembered from the glory days.

 

It looks beautiful babe, I love it! Tim texted me after I send him a selfie of me wearing a new gold-leaf headband I had bought to adorn my curls, don’t spend TOO much.

 

That’s the beauty of it, found it at a thrift store, I replied with a smile, 20 bucks.

 

Great deal! he replied happily, always excited to save money, I’ve been thinking about you non-stop today babe, can’t wait to squeeze those curls of yours.

 

And they can’t wait to feel your hands in them, I replied with a chuckle. I looked into a mirror to straighten my hair and my headband, loving the way it looked. The headband, delicate and gold, contrasted perfectly and stylishly with my curls, which billowed around my head softly and playfully. I reached into my hair and fluffed up my curls, tossing them over the front of my left shoulder for full effect. Even though I still had a couple more inches to grow out my curls until they reached their full glory, I loved it!


But as I looked at myself in the mirror, my smile faded as I admired the beauty of my gorgeous hair. It wasn’t replaced with a look of sadness, or wistfulness, but excitement…,with maybe a hint of anxiety as well.

 

Because there was something I hadn’t told Eric yet… something I had been planning for over a year, and something I was going to surprise him with in a way he would never see coming.

 

I had wanted nothing more than to grow my hair back to its former glory, and I still had a couple inches to get there. I had done this for me, but once it got back to its former, splendorous appearance, I was planning on doing something for him.

 

That’s right, once my hair got back to the full-length it was before, I was planning on shaving it all off for him and surprising him one night with his favorite style.

 

I wasn’t sure what I would want to do once it was gone, likely start growing it back again, and at the rate it was growing I still had a couple months left to enjoy it, but the feeling was like nothing I had experienced. I had always loved my hair, but now knowing that it wasn’t long for this world, knowing that a clock was slowly ticking down to its rapidly approaching demise, knowing it would be gone before the new year, was like breathing new life into my appreciation for it. Every shimmer, every bounce, every shampoo, every time Tim reached deeply into those thick curls, it was like a gift from God, and I cherished every single memory I made with it more than I ever thought possible.

 

Even this headband, something so simple and cheap, was now like a tribute, an honor paid to hair that would be lucky if it was still attached to my head in 60 days. It was like a maiden being dressed up and spoiled before being thrown in the volcano.

 

And as I looked at myself in the mirror, my dark curls glistening as brilliantly as the gold, I thought about the clippers digging into those rich, silky waves… I texted Tim again.

 

Seriously, tonight I want you to play with my hair non-stop, I sent him, a smile slowly spreading over my face, I want your hands buried in it non-stop while we make love.

 

ABSOLUTELY! he replied almost instantly, what’s with the sudden hairlust?

 

I have my reasons, I said with another sly smile, trust me… I have my reasons.

 

THE END

 

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2 responses to “The Flatmate

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