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I was happy with my hair. It hung well past my shoulders, looking crisp and clean, just like all the other girls back in fourth grade.

We had all been confirmed that spring. Soon after several moms had taken their daughters to the trendy salon for an update to their look, which meant a short shag or an attempted cool short cut – at the stylist’s discretion.

I was happy that Mommy didn’t take me to that salon in the spring, but trimmed my ends only about 1/4″ 2 or 3 times before the start of fifth grade.

I was glad to fling my waist-length mane around.

Then Mommy was in a fix for work. She needed to work a lot of hours, more than expected. I was trying to take good care of responsibilities and my hair, but Mommy was upset about everything that did or could go wrong. I was afraid that my treasured hair was next in her line of sight.

It was supposed to be a fun Friday night. Mommy was finally home from her long-hours job, and we had gotten pizza, rented a movie and were settled in.

Mommy sat down next to me and pinched my hair. I yelped; she yelled.

“Enough is enough, young lady!” she bellowed, as she paused the movie and instructed brother to put away the rest of the pizza. “Upstairs! I have scissors upstairs!”

I didn’t want to face Mommy at any time, even a good one, with scissors in her hand, unless she had agreed to just trim my ends.

I walked up to the hall bathroom following Mommy, who took out the barber’s scissors she used to trim my ends. I stood as still as possible hoping that cooperation would spare me the worst of her wrath.

Mommy looked at my reflection in the mirror, than at her own reflection. She had calmed down some, but I knew my locks were still in her sight.

“Mary, you have done a good job on your chores and school responsibilities while I’ve been so busy at work, but we need to get more things under control. I think having your hair shorter will give you more time and less hassle. Relax and let me cut your hair. If you don’t stand still it will wind up all uneven and I’ll have to cut it even shorter.”

“OK, Mommy,” I said meekly looking at myself in the mirror.

With that, Mommy took a comb and smoothed my hair all around after making a precise center part. Then she looked me in the eye, put the scissor to my right ear and sliced off almost 18″ of hair.

I yelped and Mommy admonished me to hold still, or I’d make things worse.

She then snipped off at my left ear at the same level. It looked terrible, all plastered to my head and not even reaching to the tip of my nose.

She turned me around so she could cut the back; she let out a sigh of confusion, as she picked up the comb, ran it up through my hair and lopped off a huge piece. She then held parts out between her fingers, snipping quickly. I was no longer sure that I was better off with this than if I’d put up a fight.

She turned me around to see the front again and hacked of another two inches on each side to “even things up,” she said.

She fussed some more, then told me to get in the shower while she cleaned up my severed treasure.

After I cleaned up and shampooed, I was left with a nice extremely short bob.

My friends at school asked what salon had done such a nice job.

For weeks I cried at night thinking how beautiful my hair had been and wondering if Mommy would ever let me grow it long again.

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