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I’ve had an eye to Cindy from the moment that she, her parents, her brother and sister moved into the house next to us. But I realized this not until later. Then I was sixteen, so she must have been ten, a Shirley Temple look-a-like,though she was a little older than the real Shirley in those old movies. Nevertheless the same short blonde curly-head with a round face. As nice and cheerful too. My and her parents became good friends and also when the latter moved to another district of the town they kept on seeing each other.

But in that year I graduated from high school and went to college. Sometimes Cindy accompanied her parents when they visited mine but sporadically I met her, at he utmost during my holidays if I was at home.

I hadn’t seen her for a long time and in the summer I came home during a few weeks. I was twenty two and suddenly she stood in front of me: an amazingly good looking sixteen years old girl, a breathtaking beauty. She had grown and so had her hair. No longer short curls but wavy tresses which cascaded across her shoulders and ended in broad curls.

I realized that I had got a crush on her but at that time I had been entangled in a relation with Mela, a flamboyant lass with a shock of chestnutred mass of curls. Our mutual attraction was chiefly physical, nevertheless very intense. She was a great lover, too great as I noticed. For I was not the only one whom she granted her favours. She didn’t sign any embarrassment when I confronted her with her behaviour.

“Why? I have a beautiful body and why shouldn’t I let others enjoy it too?”

We didn’t live together and despite her sleeping around she always came back to me, sobbing, begging, remorseful. She liked me and I yielded to the temptations every time. But one day she came to me, upset, telling me that she was pregnant. I couldn’t be the cause as I always used condoms in view of her conduct.

“How could it happen? I though you always used contraceptive pills?”

“I must have forgotten once. I don’t know.”

“Of course you don’t know who is the creator?”

“No, how should I?”

“So, what are you going to do?”

“What should I do? There is nothing I can do.”

I was surprised: “So you are going to have the baby?”

Her reaction was nearly hysterical.

“What do you suggest? An abortion? That is out of the question, I’m a Roman Catholic.”

She had never showed any connection to religion.

“Nevertheless I am,” she said, “And I’m going to have the baby.”

Fortunately nature interfered: she got a spontaneous abortion. At least that was what she told me.

But she was not happy at all. On the contrary, she seemed very distressed. She only wore black clothes and cut her hair very short. She avoided all physical contact. I advised her to visit a shrink but she wouln’t listen. Shortly afterwards we split up. I expected her to come back to me but it didn’t happen and I lost her out of sight. Afterwards I blamed myself that I hadn’t taken more care of her but by then it was too late. I had no idea where she had gone.

Of course Cindy often was in my mind but I was very busy. Mela had distracted me from my medical studies and I had to make up for it as it would be my last year before I would graduate as a physician. And after that had happened I got a position in a hospital to be trained in anaesthesia. Sporadically I met Cindy but for one or other reason we never had the opportunity to talk much. The first opportunity presented itself when she graduated from high school. She was 18 and a real stunner with wavy blonde hair reaching her butt.

I asked what she intended to do.

“I’m going to college but I don’t yet know what I will major in.”

Nevertheless she showed interest in medicine and I of course could give her a lot of information. When she heard that students during their training had to do experiments with animals (especially frogs) and to dissect dead bodies, she shrank back.

“I never could do that.”

“Yes, you can. If it is your wish to become a doctor you can do it.”

“No, I don’t. Besides, if I want to become an anaesthesiologist like you, it will take at least ten years. I can’t think of that!”

I teased her: “What do you think is going on in the operation-theatre? Surgeons are all the time cutting into patients.”

“Yes, but I don’t have to do it myself. I have often enough seen operations on TV. I think it to be great to work there.”

“It is, I can assure you but you should have the mentality to stick it out.”

“Well, I could learn that.”

“I’ll tell you something. If you really want to work in the theatre and you are interested in anaesthesia there is another way, namely a three years’ training to become an assistent to the anaesthesiologist. Though you work under his or her supervision you have a relative independance. In September a new course will start.”

Cindy said that she would think about it. A week later she asked if we could meet to talk more. Of course I accepted and this lead to a series of dates and we began to know each other better and better.

The better I came to know her the more I loved her but I didn’t dare to show it. I knew true enough that she worshipped me but in what way? Like an elder brother or a doctor or just as a man?

After several talks about anaesthesia she told me she would come forward to follow the course. If she didn’t like it she could stop and go to university.

As there were too many candidates a selection had to be made and interviews were organized by a committee appointed by the hospital management.

“How did you get on?” I asked Cindy after her interview.

“Well, they asked me about my background, education and why I’m interested in anaesthesia and so on. The talking was very agreeable but I shall have to wait for their decision.”

We had made an appointment at a pub near to the hospital as I was on duty and had to stay in the neighbourhood. I greeted a young woman and Cindy was eager to know who she was.

“She is in training to become a gynaecologist,” I answered.

“She looks nice but I don’t like her hair.”

“No, you are right, she should cut it short.”

Cindy was surprised: “Short? I thought you love long hair on girls.”

“Let me tell you something,” I said laughing, “I love it very long or very short but not something in between as Christina has with this collarlength.”

“What do you mean by very short?”

“Well, let me say between zero and one or two inches,” I answered and winked.

We skipped the subject and talked about other things.

Suddenly Cindy asked after a short silence: “What would you say if I cut my hair?”

Her question startled me: “Why should you do that?”

She shrugged.

“Because of something a member of the committee said. A woman, I think a nurse.”

“What did she say?”

“Well, that by working in the theatre your hair should be covered.”

“That’s right, for that purpose there are caps. We all wear them. You should hide your hair underneath a cap but I know several women with long hair. It never constitutes a problem.”

“Oh well, I think it’s not. I was only a little uneasy about the way she looked at me.”

“Don’t mind it. It really isn’t a problem.”

I didn’t have an opportunity to see Cindy during the next week but then she called me telling that she had been taken on. I congratulated her and said that we should celebrate this joyful fact. The evening of the next day I would be free and we agreed to meet each other in our familiar restaurant.

I came later than I had planned as the theatre schedule overran by nearly one hour. Of course this could happen, it constituted the risk of the profession. So Cindy would certainly be there already and I looked around to find her. I didn’t notice her but I noticed a girl waving her arm. I stopped dead in my tracks. Was that Cindy, the girl with the spiky head of hair?

She grinned when I approached her; “What do you think of my new hairdo?”

“Why did you do this?” I aked crestfallen.

“You know, I have considered what that nurse had said and came to the conclusion that my chances would be enhanced when my hair was shortened.”

“But why? I told you that there are more women with long hair.”

“Yes, but from the other candidates, at least the girls, I don’t count the boys, the hair was much shorter than mine.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that you intended to cut it?”

Surprised she answered: “You told me that you like girls’ hair to be very long or very short. So…”

“But Cindy, you had beautiful locks. A change wasn’t necessary.”

Her eyes filled with tears.

“You don’t like it. Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“No, that’s not the case. You look cute and the style suits you. But it is such a big change and utterly unexpected.”

Her pixiecut was vey short, all uneven wisps, unkempt and tousled but she looked gorgeous.

“Oh Robin, I’m so sorry. I thought to surprise you but I’ve been stupid.”

She was crying now and she looked so sad.

“Don’t do that, I love you,” I said hugging her.

She looked up at me, tears still flowing.

“You do?” She laughed through her tears. “You never said that before. Oh, that’s terrific!”

“It doesn’t shock you?”

“No, I have been hoping for such a long time that you would say it. Oh, this is great!”

“So, you love me too?”

“Yes! Already for ages!”

“We have both been stupid, haven’t we?”

We had forgotten where we were. We had no appreciation of our environment when we embraced each other.

“I wanted this appointment so much,” Cindy said softly. “I want to work with you in the same hospital. I din’t want my hair to be an impediment and I would sacrifice it. I did it for you.”

“Yes, I appreciate that, sweetheart. Give me some time to get accustomed to your new appearance.”

During the introduction period the trainees were not yet admitted to the operation theatres but first had to get acquainted with the normal procedures in the hospital and how to deal with the patients. This went on for three months and then the real work in the theatres would start. And of course there were days filled with theoretical lessons.

Just at the end of the first three months, a Saturday morning, she came to see me.

“I’m going to the unisex hairsalon where I got my haircut. Would you like to go with me? It will be a special event.”

“What do you mean?”

“Listen…..no, I’ll explain it later. Don’t say anything, just sit and watch. Very long or very short, isn’t it? Those were your words.”

What was she up to? Clearly a still shorter cut. A crewcut?

We were sitting in the waiting area. When a barber called: “Next”, looking into my direction Cindy rose and strolled to his chair. She spoke to the barber but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. She sat down and was caped. After adjusting the right heighth of the chair the barber went to the right side and obscured my view on her. Nevertheless I saw him grab a pair of clippers. I rose and left my seat and walked towards the chair in which Cindy was sitting. The barber just stepped over to the back of the chair and a view of the right side of her head was exposed which was largely stripped of hair. He went on shearing her, the back, the left side and at last the top. As soon as Cindy had seen me in the mirror she had grinned. Her right arm came up from under the cape and she brought thumb and index finger on top of each other. She mouthed: “Zero inch.”

“Do you want a razor shave?” the barber asked.

“Yes please,” Cindy answered.

He covered her head with shaving foam and with a straight razor he shaved away every vestige of hair, leaving a pale scalp. He toweled down her head and rubbed a lotion into her scalp. He pulled the cape away: “All done miss.”

Cindy payed him, opened her purse and pulled out a rainhat which she unfolded.

“I think it is too cold going ouside without covering my head,” she laughed.

“Well, I’m waiting for an explanation,” I said as soon as we were outside.

“I told you about that nurse who had remarks about my hair when I came for the interview. You remember?”

“Certainly I do. I told you not to bother but nevertheless you cut off your long locks.”

“Well, it turned out that she had spoken to all of us about the importance of good haircare. We found out that she is the chief of the theatre management and we agreed that we will surprise her next Monday when we are supposed to meet her in her office to be classified. Not a single hair will be found on our heads except eyebrows and eyelashes!”

“All of you?”

“Yes, five boys and four girls. Zero hair,” she laughed.

I grabbed her hat and pulled it from her head: “If you wish to be bald I want you to show it to everyone,” I teased her.

Cindy tried to snatch away her hat from me but I pulled back and fended her off, both of us laughing. Our cheerful struggle caught a lot of attention of passers-by, some looked amused, others amazed and a few irritated.

Back at my place Cindy scrutinized me and asked: ” You didn’t say what you think of my present-day appearance. Do you still love me?”

“Darling, let me say this: your head is beautifully shaped, you have a slender and graceful neck, fine chiseled shell-shaped little ears, lying flat to your skull, in one word you are gorgeous.”

“Thank you, but would you prefer to see me with long hair?”

“You know, I loved your hair. It is difficult to compare the two images of you.”

Cindy cuddled up to me and pressed herself firmly against me. She whispered: “I want you” and we pulled each others clothes from our bodies. We had made love before but this time she stayed overnight. We didn’t sleep much, I couldn’t get enough of rubbing her smooth and soft scalp.

“You love touching my bald pate, don’t you?”

“Yes, very much. But in a few days it will feel like sandpaper.”

“What do you think? I asked that barber to shave my head once? I don’t want sandpaper.”

“You mean that you will keep your head shaved?”

“A smart deduction, my dear Watson! Now the execution. I think you could play the role of a barber.”

“Well, who am I? Doctor Watson or Vidal Sassoon?”

“Both but besides them you are my dearest beloved.”

“Maybe I’ll love you once. No, joking. I’m in love with you and I support your ambitions. But how will your environment react? Your mom and dad?”

“Certainly mom will be upset. But I’m a big girl now, you know. I’ll cope with that.”

Fortunately nurse Jacobs could appreciate the humour of the stunt. Nevertheless she told the trainees that it should be regarded as a provocation which asked for punishment.

“As a penalty your heads sould be shaved at least twice a week during three months.”

Not all of the girls were happy with this verdict but nurse Jacobs didn’t escape notice the broad smile of Cindy.

“It seems to please you, Cindy Wakefield. For you the three months will be extended to six. Do you understand?”

“Yes sister,” Cindy said meekly.

She suppressed another smile. At least half a year of feeling the razor scraping and scratching across her scalp!

The end.

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