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Eugenio's Mistake by Jonathan


I was feeling as popular and strong as I ever had. I am a junior at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. Girls flocked around me and my friends admired me. I felt cool and knew I eluded coolness as I walked any place I went. I realized after it was too late where my coolness came from. It was my hair.

I had this long flowing deep dark brown wavy hair. It was down to the middle of my back. When I walked or moved it bounced and flowed just perfect. It was like a proud lion's mane that added a crown to my head. I tossed it back and forth and it was a part of my personality. It was not until it was gone did I realize how much so. I'd let it grow all throughout middle school and high school. I could tell when people looked at me they thought I was beautiful.

It didn't matter what clothing I wore. My long flowing hair was all I needed. Girls and women focused on my perfect facial features and my expressions I made as I talked. My perfectly beautiful head of hair framed my magnificent face. I'd look in the mirror and be in awe of myself! I was the marble fawn.

"Eugenio, do you want to go here or there with us?" people asked me.

"That kid is so good looking," people would whisper.

"Do you have a girlfriend? My friend likes you," girls would say.

I had so many friends I didn't know what to do with them all! There just wasn't enough time in the day to be all the places people wanted me to go. I was never alone and never ever lonely. Everyone at Garfield High knew who I was. I dated one hot girl after another. There just wasn't enough of me to go around.

One February afternoon this would all change. My hair needed some kind of a slight trim. I'd had it trimmed over the last six years or so before. This trip to the barbers would be something totally different however. Why or what exactly made this happen I'll never know. It was my biggest mistake.

I didn't have a regular barber or saloon I'd go to. My haircuts were often a year or even two apart. I'd just randomly select one at whim. Anywhere would do. I'd give specific instructions.

"Just take a couple inches off all around. I don't want it cut much at all. Don't layer it or thin it out at all," I'd say.

This February evening I don't know what possessed me to do what I did. After it was done I cried all the way home. Later I secretly weeped in my bedroom for weeks. All my fame and popularity at Garfield High would quickly dwindle away!

I found this little barbershop on a busy boulevard in East LA around 4 o'clock in the evening. Two middle aged men were in there chatting away in Spanish as I walked in. One was the barber, the other some friend or aquainace of his. The barber has a head of one quarter of an inch of stubble on it. The friend in the barbershop waiting chair had a shiny bald dome that looked magnificent on him. He was dark skinned and the bald dome of his shined even more so because of this. He had two perfect ears on either side of his head.

"Hi," I said as I walked in.

"Whoa kid that's some hair you've got there!" exclaims the bald guy.

"You want a haircut?" asks the barber.

"Yeah, I do," I say.

I'm feeling self conscious as I slowly slink into the barber chair. These two men are analyzing and eying me over. I want so badly to go and pick another type of place to get my hair trimmed. To make matters worse the barber puts a cape on me and tightly attaches it to my neck! I'm feeling totally trapped!

"So how do you want me to cut the hair?" asked the barber.

"Kid, what's your name?" asked the bald friend.

"Eugenio," I say.

"Well Eugenio no one has long hair like that any more, you should shave it like mine," he says.

"You've got way to much hair here," says the barber.

"I was just planning on trimming it," I say.

They both laugh out loud wickedly.

"No Eugenio, you are a boy, not a girl!" they say.

"It's time you start looking like a boy and shave off all that pretty hair of yours," the bald one says.

My room is spinning and I didn't know what to say. It all happened so fast. With that first slice of those clippers I knew it was too late.

"Well how about it Eugenio, shave it?" the barber asks.

"No, that's not what I was planning," I say.

The bald guy laughed his mean laugh.

"Kid, shave those girly locks off!" yells the bald man.

"Well maybe," I say.

What had I committed to now! A maybe may as well been a yes. I'd given into the bullying of these two strangers!

"Shave it off?" asks the barber.

"Well ok," I say.

I hear a claaacck and I know what it is! The hair clippers come slowly towards my right ear. That first touch of those clippers bitting into my beautiful mane were the worst. I couldn't hold back a tear. I reached up and wiped it quickly away. Large pieces of my crowning glory were soon falling all around me. Why had I fallen for this?

The shearing went on and on. The bald guy sat watching and laughing with delight! I could just see in the mirror barely. I was being shaved bald. It suddenly dawned on me my two ears stuck out too much. I remember in third grade I'd been buzzed to short and kids teased and called me elephante for a week. My once beautiful face and head looked small and white now. I felt bare and weakened!

"Eugenio it's nearly done. You're looking a lot better and cleaner cut now," says the barber.

He finished off with several loud trimming clippers. He buzzed down my neck. Then blew me off. A brush whips across my face and head. I get up that the men laugh ad I pay. I walk down the street looking into store window. Who is that bald kid? It's not me. It will be years until it grows back. I start to cry. I looked again. Those two ears protruding out. I'm no longer cool and beautiful!



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