My name is unimportant to the story, this is my mother’s choice.
War has plagued my country, my family gave all they could to come here.
A ship brought us to a sparkling city, people called New York.
As we settled into an apartment on the east end of fifth street, my mother started acting… weird.
She donated clothes she brought from back home when she could afford to buy a new piece of its use, a I❤️NYC T here and new crocs there, her wardrobe became more western in a sense.
Not to say we became fully westernized, we ate traditional dishes and sang songs of the motherland but my mother became enthused by the new sights.
One day, as I folded clothes, she asked me to accompany her to the salon.
I was confused but I was a loyal son so off we went.
I don’t have describe the landscape, building here and a subway entrance there, it’s all quite the same to me.
We arrived and mother was practically giddy for what was to come, I thought nothing of it.
The staff greeted us with polite greetings and took us back to the chairs, my mother took her place and was caped quickly.
”So, what are we doing today, hun”
My mother became solemn for a moment then looked into the mirror.
”I want no hair, please”
I was shocked, like ice encased me in its frozen blanket.
”Mom”,I said surprised but she shot me a look of absolute certainty.
”I want the hair from my old country gone”,she said with a affirmative tone in her voice.
I dare not protest as the hairdresser started her tool.
Strip after clump came off mother’s head til nothing but tiny hairs remained, I held her hand as the final passes roared across her head.
The cream came next and I could barely stomach my mother having her head shaved bald.
”You said all hair, ma’am”
I looked to the stylist,”She’s not that-“
I was promptly stopped by mother, she to looked to the stylist,”Yes, please remove my eyebrows then we will be done”
I thought my mom insane as the chair was reclined and the clippers moved about her eyebrows til they vanished, the razor finished the job and my mother became unrecognizable.
I was in tears as the cape came off, my mother cradled me in a hug like she did before, I repaid her graces by kissing the fresh head.
As we walked home, I tried to think why she did it.
”Hair is just hair without a meaning, I have no meaning back in the motherland so why keep it”
I kept her words in my backpocket and it stuck with me til now.
When my sisters returned from school, they nearly jumped out of their skin when they saw a bald woman prepping their dinner.
It was a weird day.