23 posts tagged nonfiction
My mother came home one night while we were still living in Germany and sat next to my father at the table and touched his hair, lifting a section, thinking, lifting another black swoop, examining. He kept eating, trying to ignore her, smiling at us and raising his eyebrows to signify that he did not know what it meant and wasn’t trying to think about it. But we all knew something was coming, and we grinned, waiting for what it would be.
Finally my mother said, “I think it’s time we cut your hair.”
My father stared at her, then said he wouldn’t do it, not ever. “I’ll gladly do anything else Tina, but you can’t cut my hair.”
A few days later my mother brought a bed sheet and a small chair into the bathroom and with a little smile she sat him down on it and draped the sheet around his shoulders.
My brother and I watched from the bathroom door. My father smiled at us, his big devil smile: He wasn’t scared of anything. My mother took the first big serpent of hair into her hands and slowly pulled it away from his head. Before cutting she gave us her own contented smile: she was winning, our mother. The bathroom light in the ceiling shone down yellow. I put my fingers into my mouth and watched my mother flick the scissors from her pocket. She held my father’s hair between the scissor’s sharp shiny edges and then looked at him and waited for his nod. He smiled at her and then slowly she pushed the scissors down into the flesh of his hair. His whole body contorted. “Ouch! Tina!” he shouted. He jumped up from his seat. We all rushed to him, trying to help. He flung the sheet from his shoulders and froze in the bathroom. We stared at him in horror. He started laughing.