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A crying shame by Carl


Stay off school in the morning mum had told me that morning and ill see you when i get in from work. No problem i thought i was eleven years old and in the last days of primary school. Mum was a 47 yr old single mum who worked in two jobs. The first being a cleaner in a local factory. She arrived home at ten thirty. You dressed she said when she walked in the house yes i said still unconcerned. She then handed me my snorkel coat. Put you coat on its cold. Were are we going? i asked as i zipped my zip up. im taking you to get that haircut she said. I flinched. It doesnt need cutting i gasped. i felt conned i had my coat on so inadvertently so doing half her work and it was easy for her to grip my arm and yank me towards the front door. The bus stopped at the top of the street and i was soon being pushed towards it by mum who had decided this was not a discussion she was having her way.
The bus came after five minutes and i was pushed on and told to sit. I didnt argue as the look on her face suggested i wouldnt win. Anne a neighbour from up the street was already on the bus and she said to mum. Hi Maggie were you going. Quarry Green, mum replied, taking him to the barbers. Oh good said Anne. Im going the post office there myself. And with that she sat next to us on the seat. I dont want it cut i mumbled. Mum just sat holding on to my arm saying nothing but Anne decided to interupt. Oh whats the matter with you your mum is right you need a haircut you look like a little girl. Mum nodded. Thanks Anne ive had enough of him looking like no one cares about him. That hairs getting cut.
it was five stops to Quarry Green and we soon arrived. Stepping of the bus mums grip tightened as as we approached the shop the lights were on so i knew it was opened. Right im off the post office Anne said to mum ill pop in the shop when ive sorted these bills out if you want we can get the bus home. Yeah Anne ill see you then and instantly we were were outside the barbers shop. The door opened and i was pushed inside. Two elderly men were in the two chairs already so meaning id have to wait my turn. Not long though i thought. Mum released her grip a little but only to unzip my coat and have it under her arm in seconds. i was pushed into a seat to wait my fate. The shop stunk of cigarette and talc and the two elderly barbers worked away. A tear ran down my cheek.
It was a matter minutes before the barber closest to the door finished the customer. Wiping the hair from his neck an quick brush and he was payed and the customer left. An empty chair awaited and as the barber had a quick drag of his cigarette mum pushed me up towards my date with Pat the barber. A block of wood was placed over the arms of the chair and before i knew it i was seated looking into a mirror with my mother and the barber menacingly behind me. A sheet was expertly thrown over me and tucked into my collar. Mum looked on as the barber ran a black comb through my shoulder length locks Shoulder length covering my ears and eyes not for long. the barber spoke. Whats he getting love he said speaking to my mum who was now seated watching. A boys haircut she responded. Ok the barber said I can give him a number one all over if you want. Back and sides as short as possible and take the front and top tight if not? Yes said mum but make sure that fringe is taken short too. He uses it like blinds and hides from the world. Yes no problem said the barber and tightened his grip on my head before combing out the tags which knotted my hair. Now id never been in this position. Normally id cry that much that my mum would not persist and id just get a tidy up and a trim but id never been taken taken to this barbers and it had all been that quick i was in shock i think.
My body tightened as i awaited the cut and i managed to glare at my mother sat behind me awaiting her moment. A sharp noise broke the moment and i looked into the mirror to see Pat the barber standing with clippers at my side. I had never had clippers used on me and my fear was now total. As tight as possible the back and sides it is then he repeated to mum and so it began. Head pushed forward the buzzing clippers began. For five full minutes hair rolled down my shoulders onto my lap and his tight grip never lessened. i know i sobbed but he just told me to be still and quiet whilst He chatted with mum about what i dont know. I hated them both and for the first time ever the clippers meant i felt air on my head.
The clippers never actually hurt but they certainly mowed like a lawnmower but still the shock came when they were turned off and my head pushed upwards to look into the mirror it shocked me. No i remember thinking please no but he continued. The clippers eventually stopped and the top was all combed out ready for his sharp scissors. My fringe was combed out and Pat the barber asked mum how short is this going. Short she said but you decide mum said enjoying every moment. The shop door opened and there stood Anne. Done she said meaning the bills and sat next to mum you nearly ready she said. Yes wont be long said my mum staring as the barber combed out my fringe before methodically scissoring me from lose long length bangs to little more than a straight line an inch above my eyes. Thats better Maggie Anne said as the hair continued to tumble this time from from the top of my head far better agreed my mother as my head was expertly shorn.
It was horrible it looked like something from the 1930s but it was nearly finished i thought. Then he started the shears again outlining his work with a grip that suggested he had done this before and enjoyed it. The hair continued to Fall. 15 minutes i was in that chair and then it stopped. That ok love he said to mum. Thats lovely thanks i will make sure it never gets in that state again. How much is it? A pound he said and the towel was swept off me with piles of my hair cascading onto his floor. I climbed down feeling the air on my head. Tears still welling as mum handed me my coat and then me, her and Anne left the shop for the bus journey home. My ears felt really cold and i told mum i hated her and pulled my hood up only for Anne to pull it down and say to mum. Hes done a good job there Maggie its a crying shame i cant get mine here (meaning her boys) A good barber who takes no nonsense and he looks like a boy now. Mum lit a cigarette and blew out. Yes she agreed and next time its not getting in that state.Ill bring him here again whether he likes it or not! She did and i hated it!





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