It was around noon on Saturday when the final buzzer sounded after our youth basketball game. I don’t remember what the scoreboard read, but the events that closely followed that day will be permanently edged into my brain forever. It was the year that I was in the forth grade, which generally speaking is an uneventful year at best and is not at all important in the grand scheme of things. But this happened to be the first year that my two best friends convinced this girl, that I secretly wanted to push off a cliff, to play bas-ketball with us. It turned out to also be the first year I had to change divisions and my friends behind. I was bitter and extremely jealous that Kelsey, my arch enemy, got to play on the same team as my best two friends while I had to suffer in a different division. I felt alone, insecure and that my enemy would somehow replace me, which to my over dramatic forth grade self was worse then if I had actually died. I had decided that this season I was going to keel over from lack of friendship and that it was going to be the worse year of my life, until I walked in and saw Erica. Erica had long hair that she wore pulled back in a sloppy ponytail, she almost always wore a jumbo-sized tee shirt and baggy men’s basketball shorts. Although she was not glamorous, she was two years older then me, charismatic, determined, focused and was by far the best basketball player on the team. Wanting to be her friend desperately and being young and naive I blindly fol-lowed her.
On the particular life changing Saturday, she had asked me to come over after the game. Immodestly I sprinted up the concrete stairs to the observation deck to ask my mothers permission. I knew she didn’t want me to but I really wanted to. So after I shamelessly begged her, she gave in, allowing me to go over there for a while. I squealed hugged Erica and told her that I would see her later.
I was still beaming from excitement when my mom’s SUV pulled up outside her large brick house hours later. Nervously my mom walked me to the door so that she could speak to Erica’s parents, but instead Erica’s nanny answered. When my mom be-gan to ask questions, Erica’s nanny shooed her away telling her that if anything went wrong Erica’s parents were just a few steps away working in the Karate dojo that they owned but she assured her that nothing would. As she shut the door she uttered the fa-mous last words “everything will be fine.”
We rushed up the spiral staircase to Erica’s bedroom. We read magazines as we talked about boys and our favorite songs. Then she came up with the brilliant plan that she would give me a makeover. We turned the radio station all the way up and she began to apply gobs of tacky dress up makeup to face. She told me not to worry that she did this sort of thing all the time and so I sat silently on her bathroom counter as she finished. “Hmm” she said as she looked at my painted face, “ I think your bangs need trimming so that it finishes off the look.” I didn’t think that she should cut my bangs at all and I told her “no that’s ok I’m going to the hair dresser tomorrow since we have pictures on Mon-day.” But she insisted and said things like “I’m older, I know these things and if you want to hang out with me again you should let me cut your bangs.” I really did idolize her and I desperately wanted her to like me, so I began to convince myself that it was ok and that it was only hair. Besides she was only going to trim them a miniscule amount right? How hard could that be? So I silenced that little voice inside me and gave in. But as Erica’s kitchen scissors slid across my forehead and the hair sprinkled around me I freaked. “You’re trimming it rights? “ I anxiously exclaimed. Nervously she answered yes as she kept cutting. “Uh oh” she said. “Uh-oh what do you mean uh-oh?” I said. “Nothing its no big deal” she said replied rudely. I slowly reached my hand up touch my hair, but instead of my bangs I hit forehead. My eyes widened and I turned around to look at the mirror. I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t look at her all I could do was stare at where my hair used to be and cry. As I sat in the bathroom and tried to think of a way to fix this I heard the doorbell rang and my mothers voice yell up for me. So with Puffy eyes now I bashfully walked down the stairs to go home. My mom and I walked silently to the car and we rode around for a while before she asked me what happened. We had a long discussion about why I let her do that and how I was going to have to live with that mistake for a long time and she explained that my hair was going to look like that for the class picture on Mon-day.
When Monday morning rolled around I was sure that I would get to stay home until my hair grew back, surely my mother wouldn’t make her only daughter go to school looking like she had gotten into a fight with a lawn mower. How wrong I was, she made me walk into school and line up for picture with all the other kids. I looked like a freak and was rightfully mocked by my peers. Even after school my brother and father would make jokes about me being hairless. It was a bad decision that couldn’t be fixed with an apology. It had extreme consequences that I had to face whenever I walked past a mirror. Yet instead of my eyes welling up with tears when someone or something brought it up, I had to learn to laugh at myself. No matter facing an awkward moment or terrible haircut the ability to laugh at myself has seen me through. So laugh at yourself whenever possi-ble, laughter gives the ability to cope with difficult situations with ease and class and this I do believe.
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