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The weirdest time of my life started when a friend recognized me one day that seemed so long ago.

“Brenda?” I heard someone calling from behind me, “Brenda is that you?”

I turned around to face the woman who had identified me and was surprised to see Brittany, an old high school team mate from volleyball running towards me. I smiled and hugged her as we met, and seeing that we were heading the same way fell in step with her towards the parking lot of our college.

“Oh my God Brenda, how long has it been?” she asked.

“Almost 4 years since we last saw each other, how are you?” I asked in return, “I heard something like you transferred here.”

“Yup yup,” she responded, “this semester. I almost didn’t recognize you at first, you look so different.”

“With hair, I know,” I unintentionally cut her off, but I had heard how completely different I looked with long hair for about a thousand times, and it was getting old. “But what can I say?” I asked, pulling the elastic band out of my thick and silky ponytail, “I kinda like it.”

“Oh wow,” was all she could muster as my hair fell and rippled down to my hips, it had that kind of effect on people, “it’s beautiful Brenda! I can’t believe I had you pegged for the girl with short hair all those years!” she laughed.

I laughed inwardly as we walked as well. People had a habit of gushing over my hair, and I could understand where they were coming from. I hate to brag, but in all my 22 years on this planet I can’t recall having ever seen hair that even came close to mine. A light blond that was nearly the color of silver, it was gorgeous beyond words, so gorgeous in fact that I had recently applied at several ad agencies as a hair model, and they had begun calling back, eager to meet me in person.

We continued to talk until I got to my car, and as I was saying goodbye Brittany asked one last thing of me. “Oh Brenda, I meant to ask, where did you get that jacket? I love it!”

I laughed again, she had asked about my favorite piece of clothing, my satin down jacket. My boyfriend John had bought it for me as a birthday present, and while he never had a chance to tell me where he had gotten it from I absolutely loved it the moment I laid eyes on it. It was a military dark green color, and while the jacket had clearly been fashioned after a military bomber jacket type of style anyone could clearly see it had been remodeled for girls. The jacket was made of a much softer satiny material than a typical bomber jacket, and even came with a fur lined hood for the rain or snow. I was pretty sure the fur wasn’t real, but even if it was made from the world’s most endangered species I would still wear it at every available chance I got.

It got awfully cold in Chicago during the wintertime, but something about the jacket’s puffy marshmallow style combined with it’s incredibly soft satiny feel made me pretty sure it would keep me warm even in a blizzard. I had really come to love this jacket, but more because it symbolized how much I loved my boyfriend and not just because of the very stylish vibe it gave me. But now here was Brittany asking me another question I had been asked a hundred times, where she could get one, and sadly I honestly had no answer for her.

“I’m sorry Brittany, my boyfriend got it for me and he didn’t really tell me where.”

“Ah,” she moaned, “but it looks so soft and warm!” she said in a very funny mock whining voice.

“Tell you what,” I said, “give me your number and I’ll ask him when I get home.” We swapped numbers and said goodbye, but as I was getting in the car I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror. I didn’t like the vanity of it, but I turned a little to catch a glimpse of how my hair was looking, and peeping over my shoulder I could see it spilling down the back of my dark green jacket, the satin of the jacket as shiny as the living silk of my hair. My hair was so thick and so long by now that not even a hint of the contrasting green jacket was able to show through the mane, and other than a small kink from where my ponytail had been tied it looked as straight and as perfect as ever. I got into my car and left the campus.

My night class for that day had been cancelled, so I decided that I would go to my boyfriend’s apartment and surprise him with dinner since he wouldn’t be home for another hour and a half. Walking through the front door I slipped out of my warm jacket and tossed it onto the couch, but then stopped dead in my tracks. I heard a noise coming from our bedroom, were we being burglarized? I sneaked to the nearby vacuum closet, since John had kept his baseball bat there for the weekends. Armed, I slowly walked towards out room, my pulse pounding and my hands shaking, and slowly opened the door. What I saw however, was far worse than robbers.

Peaking through a crack in the door I saw John and some tramp having sex in our home! IN OUR BED! A lock of my long blond hair fell into my eyes, so I scooped it back and tucked it behind my ear, still speechless at what was in front of me. I couldn’t believe it, after 4 years together, this was how it all came to an end? For a moment I was very, very tempted to go in there with the bat anyways, to knock them both over the head and walk out, but I fought the urge and closed the door quietly. Tears were starting to form in my eyes, but I walked back out the front door, picking my treasured jacket back up as I passed and fumbling into it as I stepped outside. The winter air was icy, but as soon as I slipped back into my satin jacket I felt warmer almost at once.

I remember it was a very chilly night as I walked back to my car, so I pulled the hood of my jacket up over my head and quickened my pace. I remember feeling my long, soft hair swinging underneath my jacket as I walked, swaying back and forth with each step as I got into my car and drove off. I wiped tears from my eyes as I slowly made my way back to my small home which had been my parent’s before they moved, and as I pulled up to their driveway though, it finally hit me. I burst into sobs while I sat there in the driveway and when the worst of it seemed to pass I walked into the house and entered the my bedroom. The thirty minute drive to my house had felt like an eternity with all the crying I had done, so I barely had time to work my hair into a ponytail and collapse on the bed before I fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up to the sight of my thick hair hanging over my face, filtering the sun. I took a long shower, then got out and blew my hair dry, not knowing that it would be the last time I would ever do so. I looked at my hair in the mirror, taking in how nice it looked and how it glistened in the bathroom lights. While I don’t consider myself bad looking my hair had recently become my best feature. I say recently because when I had first met John four years ago it had been in a short tomboyish style which Brittany had remembered, about three inches all over. After dating a few months however, John had convinced my to grow it out, saying that it would look gorgeous long. So I did him that favor and worked at growing it out longer and healthier for four long years, until now it looked like it did.

John had lavished a lot of money to get me the best products for my hair, and it showed, falling to my hips and completely covering my back like a thick blanket of hair. It was a light, light blond, almost white, and the condition it was in was nothing short of breathtaking. It was extremely soft and shiny, and didn’t show a hint of damage even at the ends. Its gorgeous condition had eventually caused me to apply for those hair model ads, but I had no idea that in less than two hours it would all be gone and I would lose any chance of that ever happening. Looking back on that day it is so weird thinking that at that time I was completely oblivious to what was about to come, but actions of passion usually ended up like that.

But for the time being I just stared at my beautiful hair as I ran my fingers through it, watching it flutter
with the motions and shine silver in the lights. Finally I put down the brush and walked back to my room. I slipped into a long denim skirt, a dressy white cotton blouse, and of course, my favorite waist length satin jacket that had cost John quite a bit of money, but money well paid. I set a fire in the living room fireplace for the chilly day and decided to watch a movie. I had barely started it when my cell phone rang, so I paused the movie and picked it up, recognizing instantly the number that was calling.

“Hello?” I said.

“Brenda?” It was John all right.

“Yes John?”

“Oh God, you scared me, when are you coming home?”

“I’m not coming home John.”

“What? Why?”

“I saw you last night.” The line went dead for a few seconds.

“Honey listen, it wasn’t what it looked like…”

I’m coming to get my things tomorrow at 1, goodbye John.”

“NO HONEY WAIT!” I hung up, but strangely I didn’t feel like crying. I sat down and watched my movie, or at least tried to, but thoughts kept plaguing my head. I had nothing of my own anymore, my hair, my possessions, even the clothes I was wearing, were all because of John. I looked down at the soft, shining green satin of the jacket I was wearing, not the most expensive jacket I had ever owned (John had accidentally left the receipt in the bottom of the box the day he got it for me), but by far my favorite, and how happy I had been when I opened the box for my birthday. How much I had loved him.

I don’t know what it was about that specific moment, but suddenly I felt wrong, really wrong, almost sick to my stomach, like I had somehow betrayed myself by not doing something about my situation. I hated John in that moment more than I had ever hated anyone in my life, and without thinking I went into the garage and grabbed an old box I had used for moving, then went into my bedroom. Looking through my closet I disgustedly found many articles of clothing that John had bought for me, and as quick as I could find them I threw them into the box. By the time I was done the box bulged with clothes, and grabbing a light and some lighter fluid and matches I took all the articles to my back yard.

It was really cold, and it looked like it was about to start snowing again, but at that moment I felt no cold, only hatred. I dropped the box and grabbed a pair of jeans and several blouses that John had bought for me from the top of the pile and threw them onto the lawn. Without pausing I doused them in lighter fluid, struck a match, and threw it onto the pile of clothes. The clothes went up in an instant, and as they burned I dove into the box eager for more items to feed the fire, I tossed a sweatshirt onto the fire, followed by a t-shirt, then some underwear.

Suddenly I found a satin blouse that really got my blood boiling. John had loved when I wore satin, and many of the articles of clothing he bought me, including my jacket, proved it, so I tossed the blouse into the fire, eagerly looking for more satin articles to burn as it withered away in the flames. Here was a ruffled satin skirt I had worn out dancing with him, into the fire it went, the light material it was made of bursting into flames at once. A pair of satin underwear, more satin blouses, a satin robe I had worn with him in San Francisco, satin lingerie, and even a pair of black satin pants all followed, and when I was sure there was none left I went back to the rest of the articles. Within ten minutes the box was empty, and I was standing in front of a fire being fueled by many of my favorite outfits.

I rubbed the soft and puffy sleeves of my jacket, and that’s when it hit me, the jacket! It was everything I was trying to get rid of, my precious, beautiful down jacket. For a minute I did nothing but rub the supple satin, but slowly I unzipped it and slipped out my favorite possession. I held it in front of me with both hands, rubbing the texture with my thumbs. At the time I didn’t know what I was doing, but looking back I’m pretty sure I was trying to get one last feel for the jacket since I knew inside that it was as good as gone. I tried to reason with myself, I could get back at John without burning a $250 dollar jacket, and to be honest, it would be more of an insult if I just kept it. But just as I thought I was going to talk myself into keeping the jacket, I tossed it onto the burning pile of clothes.

I gasped at what I had just done, and I instantly regretted it, so without thinking I quickly reached into the fire and snatched my wonderful jacket out of the consuming flames. Some hot ash came up with it, and it looked like the fur collar was alight in flame along with another small spot near the pocket. I whacked at the flames on the fur and at the other spots where flame was catching, and after several whacks with the palm of my hand the fire on the front of the jacket looked like it was extinguished, so I held the coat up in front of my eyes to observe the damage. The fur was slightly singed, and the spots which had briefly caught fire were a little charred, but for the most part it looked like the damage could easily be hidden. I remember that brief moment of sheer relief I felt thinking I would be able to keep my treasured jacket after all, but what I didn’t know was that while I was doing my damage assessment on the front of my coat, an unseen flame was slowly burning a hole through the back.

I flipped the jacket around and saw the fire at once, and I began to whack at the flame again with my bare hand, but by then it was too late. The fire opened a hole in the satin shell large enough for some of the goose down to be exposed, and almost at once the down caught fire and burned wildly out of control. It happened in the blink of an eye, and I panicked as I saw my jacket begin to burn much more rapidly, I had no idea that goose down burned like gasoline, and after a few more impotent whacks I shrieked and dropped the jacket as the flames got too hot for me to hold onto it any longer. For a split second I thought of running inside to try and find water to put out the fire, but I realized that it would do no good.

I let out a moan of sadness as I watched a jacket which I had loved more than anything else I owned go up in flames in such a short amount of time, and I saw the soft green satin wither and burn, turning to ash in seconds. But even though I felt horrible watching my beloved jacket burn it awoke something in me that I never knew existed. I felt excited, nervous, and ecstatic at the same time, knowing that as hard as it had been, I had just destroyed something of mine that John had loved as well. I remember rubbing my now bare arms, the cold of outside finally getting to me without my coat to protect me, and I remember that as soon as I walked back into the house the thought hit me.

I remember running my fingers through my hair, thinking that if a stupid jacket could make me feel this good, what would it feel like to destroy the one possession that he loved more than anything? I felt like I was two people as I ran my fingers through my thick mane that felt as soft as satin (no wonder John loved it); one of those people, the one who relished the silky feeling of my glorious hair, wanted to push it out of my head once and for all, to keep my long hair and keep pursuing the aspect of becoming a hair model. The other part of me, the one that was realizing that the hair now felt course, ugly, and a hateful reminder, wanted me to rip it right out of my head this instant.

I don’t remember how long I stood there, but I remember coming to my sense and changing into a white cotton robe for what was about to come, I also remember thinking that the robe was almost the same color as my hair as it spilled down the back. I walked back into my bathroom and pulled my brush out, running it through my hair for what I was beginning to realize would be the last time. Once again I can’t remember how long I sat there taking in the wonderful feeling of the brush through my locks, but I do know that it was at least twenty minutes according to my clock.

Without really knowing what I was doing, I set down the brush and began to open drawers in my bathroom. My silvery hair hung down into my eyes, so I scooped back the silky strands and tucked them behind my ears as I plunged deeper and deeper into the drawers. Finally I found the black box I was looking for, and my hands were shaking as I pulled it out and opened it up. In the box lay the shiny black clippers I had used to clean up the back of John’s neck, expensive and for good reason, these things chopped you down almost to the skin.

For some reason, finally looking down at them was what caused my mind to catch up with what I was thinking, and I shut the box in a panic and whipped my head up to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I remember that the quick motion sent my hair up and into my face in a silver blur of silk, creating an almost comical effect, but behind the flurry of my hair I swore I caught a glimpse of a grin before it vanished in place of a nervous look at what was to come. Was I really going to go through with it? Was I going to shave off my glorious hair just to spite my cheating boyfriend?

I grabbed a lock and held it under my nose, then pinned it there by curling my upper lip, giving myself a fake moustache, which had always been a strange habit of mine. The silky lock tickled my nose and made me giggle, and I could smell the sweet fragrance of the strawberry shampoo I had just used on it earlier. Why would I ever want to part with it? I thought of all the fun I had playing with it, styling it, chewing on the ends, running my fingers through it, and on odd occasions curling it. I started to close the box, and I still think that if I had finished closing the box I would have never looked back, and I would still have my hair today, my beautiful long hair.

I still think of how things could have been, the fun I would have still been having playing with it, the warm feel of it during the winter, and of course, the hours of private ecstasy I would have enjoyed as I combed through my hair with my fingers. I still wonder what things would have been like if I had been taken on as a hair model, how I would talk to my stylist about this as he curled my hair, laughing over how close I had come to ruining it all as he set my gorgeous silken tresses in elegant styles and twists. Looking back at how much I had loved my hair and how wonderful it had been to have it, I realize that the thought of shaving off hair so thick and beautiful was the biggest mistake a person could ever ponder.

But sadly, that wasn’t how things developed. I was closing the box when suddenly my hand stopped, and I remembered how much my hair reminded me of HIM. The way he would run his hands through it for hours, the way I would tickle him with the ends in the morning. And of course, the huge amounts of money he would spend to get it in the condition it was in today. A tear started to form in my eye as I slowly opened the box back up and picked up the clippers.

I flicked them on and still remember jumping a little as they came to life in my hand, and with my free hand I pulled my hair back over my shoulders, draping it over my back and watching my hair glisten so beautifully with the movement that it seemed to know it was the last time it would ever do so. I sat there motionless for a moment, then with a deep gulp, and a thought of how good it would feel, I put the vibrating clippers up to my hairline. As the clippers bit into the very front of my hairline I had a hundred memories flash back in my mind in a split second, but then I snapped back into the present as I felt the clippers plunge deep into my lush mane. I felt the front hairs of my thick hairline separating from my head as the clippers began their ruthless harvest, and then the clippers moved back deeper and deeper into my hair as the first strands floated down past my eyes.

I made another sobbing noise in my throat as I continued the first pass, watching in the mirror as what looked like a landing strip of stubble appeared in the dead center of my formerly perfect mane, and I felt something that felt like a laugh and a sob come up in my throat. Afraid of what would come out, I bit the reaction back and pulled the stray strands from my bare strip. Peeling away those locks felt revolting and amazing at the same time, almost like peeling back a scab, it hurt like hell but it felt oddly great to feel it coming away. Feeling something like reassurance from that thought I pulled the clippers back up to my head and began to run them through another clump of silky soft locks.

After a couple of passes the right side of my head was strangely bare, and feeling the harsh prickles of what had once been a beautiful mane of shining silvery hair exhilarated and terrified me. I remember putting down the clippers and for what I think was about 5 minutes I rubbed both sides of my head with both hands. To this day I can still remember that weird sensation in my hands, hard prickly stubble meeting my right hand and incredibly silken locks meeting my left making me want to finish the job. I felt a sense of excitement as I flicked the clippers back on and began to massacre the hair on the left side of my head, watching with something like shock as a large smile began to spread on my face.

The silvery blond strands from the left side of my head floated down to meet the strands from the right, and I clearly remember looking down at the growing pile and thinking that there was easily enough to fill a good sized pillow with even though I wasn’t even done yet. My hair was super thick and put up one heck of a fight against the clippers, even snagging them at several points, but in the end it took less than ten minutes to completely destroy something that had taken me four years to build. I thought when I saw myself completely bald for the first time I would cry, but as I gazed at my completely bare head I remember I uttered one quick laugh before breaking into a smile. To be honest, I remember thinking that I was more upset over losing my jacket than I was over losing my hair.

My hair had been a huge part of who I was, but here I stood with a very well shaped bare head and I was laughing! My hair had been short in high school, but never so short that I had any idea how smooth my hair really was. I reached up and rubbed my completely bare head, and when I felt the stubble’s beautiful raspy feel against my hand I had a brief notion to go all the way, to shave it smooth with a razor, but as I looked in the mirror my hair was such a light blond that it already looked like I had done so, and shaving it all the way would accomplish nothing but postpone the growing out that I was already looking forward to doing. No matter how much I stared I couldn’t get over it, and for the third time that day I lost track of how long I sat there staring at myself. In the coming months Brittany Spears would shave her head, and some idiots would actually think that I had done so because of her, even though I beat her to the punch. I would never understand people. I thought of how much money I probably lost from the career I MIGHT have had as a hair model, but seriously, how can you build a career out of that?

Finally I came to my senses and stepped into some slippers, walking out my backdoor to feel the icy air on my newly shorn scalp, and the last thing I can still remember vividly about that day was the instantly cold exhilaration I felt on the top of my head. It was like placing a bag of ice cold water over my head, but somehow a hundred times better, and even as I stood there I couldn’t help but think how much the fur lined hood of my former jacket would warm up my head.

I looked down at the pile of still smoldering ashes that my jacket had left behind. It had been completely burned away, not even leaving a tiny bit of material behind except for a blackened zipper and a few hot buttons for the pockets. Whatever type of down the jacket had been filled with, it must have burned hot to devour it like that. That day I realized that I had destroyed two of my most precious p
ossessions; one with fire, the other with clippers, but it had been worth it to be reborn in the snow. I can’t knowingly recommend every woman to try shaving their head once because on that day I needed to do it for myself, but I can promise you that there really is nothing like it in the world.

This day happened nearly nine months ago and I’m still getting return calls from ad agencies who want to talk to me about my hair no matter how many times I hang up. While I wrote this story to finally tell someone about my experience, there is another reason behind it. Since then my hair has grown out to a respectable length and I intend to grow it out until it reaches its’ former length of my hips, but I still miss my jacket something awful. I know it sounds crazy to dote so much thought on a stupid piece of clothing, but you have no idea how much I really loved that jacket. I’ve looked everywhere to buy another one, and I found this picture of EXACTLY the same jacket, but in a different color.

All I know is that Jennifer Lopez’s company makes the product, but they stopped manufacturing it. If anyone has any information on where I can find a size small in green or if you are trying to sell one, please e-mail onehss@gmail.com. Thank you

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