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Just Like Tim's Please by P.J.

Authors note: This is kind of a dark story, and something very different from my usual stuff. Try not to judge to harshly. I just had to get his one off my chest.

Just like Tim's Please

I was still reeling from the events of the past week. Here we were, By best friend Rich and I sitting in Frank the butchers barbershop. My dad was in the chair getting his fussy businessman's coif touched up. We were next.

I'm getting ahead of myself, let me give you a little back ground and lead up to now.

Rich and I have been best friends and next door neighbors our whole lives. Our moms are also best friends. Our dads, well... they are friendly when forced to be, but don't hang out together, or didn't I should say. Riches dad is, I mean was, a Forman at a large construction company. He was killed in a horrible accident almost 3 months ago. My dad is a manager at a large engineering firm. It was the classic white collar/blue collar difference. Both knew enough about each other's work to be conversant but that was about it. Rich is the spitting image of his dad. We're both just finishing second hear high school, 15 going on 16. We're both only's meaning, were only children, no siblings. We are, practically speaking, almost siblings though, in how we are with each other. We're pretty much inseparable, and pretty competitive with each other.

Since this is a haircut story, let me at least describe ourselves. Rich, as I said, is the spitting image of his dad. Tall, approaching 6 feet, thin, very athletic and physically fit, quarterback of our football team. He has amazing almost white blonde hair. As did his dad, they are of Scandinavian decent. They even had the same cut. Center parted, feathered as is customary for the 1970's, it would hang low over a dress shirt collar, and ears covered. Riches was a bit long now, he hasn't had a haircut since his dads passing. Until today. He and his dad went to the same stylist and got the same cut. Rich thought it was so cool that he had the same haircut as his dad, he truly idolized his old man. They had a great father son relationship, and Rich missed him more every day.
I, on the other hand, am also approaching 6 feet in height, and have the same deep auburn colored hair as My dad. That's where the similarity ends. I have had the same haircut, a Princeton, since kindergarten. Basically tightly shaved everywhere except this small tuft of bangs in the front that gets combed up off my forehead when necessary. My dad is very strict, very stern, very Yes sir, no sir. We seldom are able to have any meaningful dialog, it's more of him talking at me than with me , trying to impart his vast knowledge into my pea brain. I became resigned to looking like a geek long ago, I endure endless teasing and taunting every 6 or 8 weeks after I'm here at Franks for a fresh shearing. No amount of begging or pleading has ever cracked my old man's view that young boys should have just enough hair to say they aren't bald.

Rich also enjoys the attention of our schools female population, he was truly a handsome guy, with his sparkling blue eyes, and that mane. Being a great quarterback didn't hurt either. I was the team kicker. Consequently we were almost never on the field together. I always knew where he was by the small flap of almost white hair sticking out from under his black helmet.
I also had a serious case of hair envy. Riches hair is thick, somewhat fine textured, and has just a hint of a wave to it. It's the type of hair that he can get out of the shower, brush it, part it, and it looks like he took hours to st

So, fast forward to last weekend, My mom had Rich and his mom over for dinner last Saturday.
Somehow, the conversation got to the fact that the coming week was the last week of school. My dad piped up and said, great, we can go to Franks Saturday and get your summer haircut. Riches mom immediately piped in and asked if dad would take Rich too, and get his hair cut. She got teary eyed for a minute, explaining about Rich always going with his dad. My dad said, "of course he'd be happy to bring Rich along", then he brought the hammer down when he said" He can get his cut, just like Tim's".

Rich dropped his fork with a loud clang. "MOM!, please, I know my hairs getting long, but you can take me to the same place dad and I used to go to, maybe Tim can even come with us instead, please".
Now Rich, his mom admonished, Tim's dad has graciously offered to take you. You could use a nice summer haircut. You're going, end of discussion .

Rich immediately asked to be excused from the table, he said he wasn't feeling well, pushed back from the table and practically ran to the bathroom. I asked to be excused too, and followed, saying that I'd make sure he was O.K. I knew that he was far from O.K. though. I found him in the bathroom, staring at himself in the mirror, pulling and tugging at this thick locks.
"What are you doing man ,are you O.K.?" I asked. "I'm trying to get an idea of what I might look like after I get all my hair shave d off like yours. Then he burst into tears. This can't happen he said, looking forlornly at me. Dude, I love you like a brother, but you know I don't ever want your haircut. OH, MY God", he moaned.

He exited the bathroom, I followed, and we walked back to the dining room. He explained that he wasn't feeling well, politely apologized , and said he would be going home. "Don't worry mom, you can stay, I'll be O.K. Tim can come with me. With that he left. As I followed, I over
heard his mom say, She was at her wits' end with Rich, he was taking his dads passing very hard. Maybe a new haircut would snap him out of his reverie. If they only knew how he really felt.
I can personally attest to the fact that he felt even worse , if possible, with each passing day this past week. He was constantly touching his hair, running his hands though it. It drove me crazy, I'd always wanted to run my hands through that amazing mane, just once to see what that flaxen hair felt like. To feel what long hair felt like. Mine had grown out from the last brutal shearing and was just now getting to look quasi normal. I had some nice short length, just starting to approach my ears, finally covering my scalp, and if I turned my head just right , I could get a glimpse of a small amount behind my ear. Ah, sadly I knew it would all be gone Saturday, extra short, for my summer shearing at the hands of old heavy handed Frank, the curmudgeon barber, once again.
The worst part was , Rich was now going to lose his amazing mane to the same heavy hands. And I knew that was going to be a disaster of epic proportions.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, my dad rousted me , saying please go get Rich, so we can get in and get out of Franks, He didn't want to be there all day.
I ran next door, tapped on the door, and let myself in as was customary for the two of us boys at each other's houses. Rich was in the kitchen, trying one last plea for his mom to please change her mind and take him to his dads salon instead. She nodded in my direction and said "Tim is here, please, just go with him, the change will be good for you."

He dejectedly moped out, I gave his mom a frown, she just waggled her hands in a get going manner, shaking her head. I mouthed "please can't you change your mind" she shook her head in the negative.
That pretty much brings us up to the minute. Dads getting his fussy business man's coif touched up, then all hells going to break loose I suspect. Frank and Dad were deep in conversation, quick glances from each of them in our direction now and then, along with occasional head nods. Soon enough, dad was finished. Frank removed the cape with a flourish, and dad stood up. Plush auburn hair, trimmed to perfection, full and thick. Tim, your next, dad said matter of factly. I knew there was no point in arguing so I quietly moped up and sat in the chair.

Frank quickly snapped a fresh cape around my neck and said, O.K. Nick, what are we doing with Tim today.(my dad's first name is Nick by the way) I was never addressed directly, I was just another head to be sheared as far as Frank was concerned. Dad was the paying party so he called the shots.

"Schools out Frank, time for a nice short summer Princeton I think". "Ah, yes", Frank replied. " Say, how about a nice tight butch for the summer instead, Nick". While he ran his comb through my short locks, combing them straight down all around. I almost feinted. "Dad, please, no, sir. I haven't had one of those since I was a little kid, please no". Dad for a brief moment, pondered the merit of a tight butch, I'm sure of it. "Ah, Frank, as appealing as that might sound, we have Tim's friend Rich here, motioning to Rich, for a haircut too today. I don't think his mom would appreciate it If I brought him back with no hair, so just the short Princeton, O.K". I started breathing again. Holy s**t, that was close, for the first time that day I was glad Rich was with me. I had new found hatred for ol Frank here too. I couldn't wait till I was 18 and could do what I liked with my hair and dad couldn't stop me. We'd be regulars at Riches salon for sure I thought to myself.

Frank proceeded to clipper shave me down, extra tight for summer, being that he'd been cheated out of being able to completely shave me down. He firmly manipulated my head, first chin to the chest, so he could methodically strip off all the nice soft auburn locks I'd developed since my last visit. chunks of them drifted down off my shoulders into my lap. I could feel the almost guard less clippers scraping the back of my head with each pass, all the way up to the crown. Then he pushed my head to the side, pealing all the hair on first the left , then the right side off, again, nice tufts adding to the small pile in my lap. I observed dad trying to talk with Rich. Rich, while trying not to be out and out rude, but wasn't in any mood to talk, I was sure of that. He'd confided while we'd been waiting that he was terrified to get his hair cut short. He'd never had it cut with clippers, except to shave his neck. And certainly never had a short hair cut like mine as far back as he could remember.
Rich and I had talked occasionally about our radically different haircuts, and our dads approaches to them and raising us in general. Rich was always sympathetic when I got sheared down. Up to now though he'd never been witness to the actual shearing. He was watching with increased discomfort as my auburn locks were stripped off, leaving almost bare skin behind. Next came the clipper over comb portion for the top and fringe. comb, snip, comb, snip, alarmingly large chunks of my hair were now falling past my eyes. Geese Frank, take it easy I thought, this will be an extra short cut for sure. Old Frank the butcher at his best, I thought dejectedly. Another summer with a hat on always , till just before school starts again in the fall. Soon enough, my bangs were being combed down straight. The scissors slid in halfway up my forehead, Riches eyes widened with horror. Snip, snip, the dreaded angled bangs, extra short to be sure.

I was pretty sure they were too short to comb up into the stupid little pomp this time, but ol Frank proved me wrong. the final injustice was the dab of some sort of awful goo, rubbed through the short nubbins I had left, and then knife edge parted on the left, and combed over, the little tuft in the front combed up , this time sticking almost straight up it was so short. Frank edged me extra short all around with the peanut clippers, or balders as I called 'em. He asked my dad if it would be O.K. to straight razor the sides and neck extra short for summer too? Thankfully, for once in my life, dad paid some attention to me directly. I mouthed a panicked and horrified NO to him. He raised his eyebrows for a bit, studying me. " Ah, maybe next time Frank, when it's just Tim and I, O.K." "Suit yourself Nick, it'd be a good look for the lad though". I heaved a relieved sigh.

I could tell ol Frank was practically drooling at the prospect of getting Rich in to the chair. He whipped the cape off me so fast he made my head turn. O.K. boy, all done. Next he called out as I climbed down.

Dad smiled at Rich, tapped him on the back gently, and said that's you son, hop on up there. Franks gonna make a whole new man of you. Rich gave my dad a pleading look and stood up.
As he slowly made his way to the chair he took a look at me as we passed each other. The look said it all, I knew exactly how he felt.
Frank almost gleefully snapped the fresh cape around Riches neck. "O.K. son, he said, combing through the plush thick flaxen haired mane". Pulling it straight down all around. " I guess it's been awhile since you've been under a cape son. What are we doing today for you"? Before Rich could utter a syllable, dad piped up and said "Just like Tim's please, if you would, Frank. "
I watched Richs shoulders sag as he slumped in the chair.

I always loved it when we'd come here and have to wait because it was busy at the beginning of summer. I got to watch other young guys like me be subjected to the same or similar brutal divestitures. I could watch as sometimes a whole years worth of gorgeous hair got unceremoniously stripped off of some poor guy. Frank smiling gleefully as he stripped it all off. Mounds of locks accumulating in his lap, nothing but stubble remaining where they'd been moments ago. This was different though, this was Rich getting sheared, I wasn't going to like this ,not one bit. I almost wanted to cry for him in the moment here.

Frank, (I swear saw a quick wicked smile flash across his old face briefly) selected the fast feed Osters off the hook under the big shelf behind the chair , Rich was turned to face dad and I , My eyes were riveted on Rich. Dad was making small talk about how much better Rich would look without all that long hair. I wasn't into conversation at this moment so I ignored him. I also wasn't sure if I could converse without losing it on dad. He had no idea what was really happening with Rich at this moment, but I did.

Frank lifted the thick locks at Riches nape, clippers roaring to life. I saw the clippers disappear, seconds later, they reappeared above Riches head, as they cleared his crown. The first shank of locks fell on Riches shoulder shimmering in the harsh shop lights, and stayed there. A second pass was made, then a third. I knew exactly what that felt like. It made my skin crawl a bit, knowing my buddy was being subjected to the same fate as me. Riches shoulders were now thick with his shorn locks. Funny what you think of in moments like this. I had always considered Rich's hair to be a white blonde, seeing it now against the crisp white cape, it looked more ivory colored. Frank, of course, was being a total asshole. He hadn't knocked any of the shorn hair into Riches lap, yet.
Frank straightened Riches head, then tipped it sideways. Riches long fringe covered most of his face, so I couldn't make out any expression. I could see his fringe move with his rapid breathing so I knew he was upset though, he was almost panting. Now Frank pushed the thick mounds of shorn hair off Rich's shoulders, sending it into his lap. The panting stopped for a moment. Then started up again, becoming more rapid I thought. God that was a lotta hair, and that was only from the back of Rich's head.

Next the clippers carved around Riches left ear. Mounds of thick flaxen hair sliding down, this time, landing directly in his lap. The breathing became more rapid. The hair on his left side was being stripped off so short, with his light color he looked almost bald. I gave a sharp intake of breath. " Hmm" dad said, "starting to look good, huh Tim". Frank moved around to the other side of Rich, flopped Riches head quickly to the left, peeling off all the hair around his right ear in a few swift strokes of the hungry clippers, long thick locks adding to the huge amount already blanketing the cape. "Nuh uh", was all I could mutter. This was bad, REALLY bad. I don't think I ever hated dad more than in this moment.

Now all that was left was the long thick shank of bangs, hanging down covering Riches face. I knew what was coming. My palms got sweaty. Frank lifted a large section of Riches bangs with the comb, Zip, the viscous clippers raced across the comb. Thick locks were severed, falling quickly past Riches horrified eyes into his lap. This was quickly done several more times , working his way across the front. Soon Riches horrified face was revealed. The sparkling blue eyes wet with tears. Sadistic Frank, gave a quick smirk, satisfied that he had denuded yet another of those awful long hair types. He made short work of the rest of the silken locks on the top, cutting them sinfully short, just like mine. Comb, zip, comb zip, a thick cascade of flaxen locks shimmered their way into Riches already full lap. Rich looked just like he had at his dads funeral.

"Looking good son", my father quipped. "He's starting to look just like you Tim, isn't he", dad said, nudging my shoulder in case I wasn't already riveted to the carnage taking place before my eyes. Rich glanced over at me just for a second, registering my expression, the water works started in earnest.
Frank finished up using the edger's, just to add insult to injury, shaving Rich's edges bald too.
He brushed Rich down, and gave his shoulder a quick rub. Next he got a blob of that awful goo he used to plaster every remaining hair firmly in place. He worked it thoroughly into the small bits of hair remaining on Rich's head. He proceeded to create a knife edge left parting, and combed the small tuft of fringe up just like mine. I wanted to puke. Rich did look just like me. The poor bastard. I'd never seen him with anything other than a center parting. He looked ridiculous. "There now son, all finished", Frank said, spinning the chair so Rich could see himself in the big mirror behind the chair.
"Nice and smart now aren't we son", Frank said, smiling sadistically, whipping the cape off with a flourish, sending all Riches former glory to the floor directly in front of him. The shimmering locks falling, like shards of glass, to the floor.
Rich got up, weak kneed. He wobbled down from the chair, cautiously reaching up to feel the sinfully short nubbins left on the back of his head. This brought a bonified sob emanating from somewhere deep within him.
"There you go Nick", Frank said. " Is it short enough for you"? "Oh, yes, I think they look fine Frank, Especially Rich. That's quite a nice change for the better don't you think"? "Well, if I'm being honest Nick", Frank replied," I think they'd both look much smarter with the #1 butch" . Dad just laughed. "With all due respect sir", Rich said quietly to dad," there won't be any next time for me sir". He slowly marched out of the shop. I quickly followed. Climbing in the back seat with him.
Dad climbed into the car, "Rich", dad said," I know this is quite a change for you but you look quite handsome son. Just like Tim".
As dad proceeded to drive us home, Rich started to speak.

"Sir, I know you think you've done a wonderful thing. You think you've helped my mom and done her a great favor".
"Here's what you've done for me, sir". I could tell by his tone Rich was now working into a full blown rage. I also knew there was no stopping him. For once I was glad. Dad was going to get a good dose of reality. We'd catch hell for talking back to our elders, but this was well deserved If I knew where Rich was going with it.

"Sir, you've successfully taken away one of the last physical reminder I had of my dad. You see, my dad and I always went to the same stylist, not the butcher barber we were just at. We always got the same haircut. My dad ALWAYS asked me before we got our hair cut, was I sure this was what I wanted, I didn't have to get the same haircut as him if I didn't want to. I was free to get whatever I wanted. I loved the fact that dad and I looked so similar, and it was always so cool to get the same haircut as him. Now that's gone, AALL GONE, thanks to you and my mom. With all due respect sir, I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive you for this. And just for the record, I didn't ever want to look JUST LIKE TIM. I think he has one of the worst haircuts I've ever seen, and now I have too, sir. We now look like matching dorks, only I look like a pretty much bald dork, again, thanks to you sir. Thank god school is out and I at least will have some fuzz by the time it starts again in the fall. I won't have to endure the endless ridicule and teasing, and probably bullying for this horrible disgusting haircut, like Tim does every time he gets it, SIR. And I can assure you I will never, and I mean never, be going with you again. Thanks for one of the most horrifying experiences since dad died, SIR".

As this was taking pace, I could see dads reflection in the car's rearview mirror. He'd started to color up when Rich got going, I was sure he was going to go into one of his tirades and shout Rich down, like he did to me all the time. But by the time Rich finished, dad was somewhat white faced and subdued. I was shocked. His silence could only mean we were for sure going to catch holy hell for Rich's outburst.

We were pulling into the driveway as Rich finished, red faced and crying again. He jumped out of the car and raced over to his house. I looked quickly at my dad who had a stunned expression on his face. I gave him a stone faced glare, then took off after Rich, calling for him to wait.

He had reached the door, and was through it, trotting for the bathroom, past his mom. She only had time to quickly say that he looked very handsome, to which he screamed "I hate you." I was in hot pursuit, and only just managed to push my way through the door, into the bathroom as he slammed and locked the door behind me.

He stood in front of the big mirror, almost hyperventilating. I gave him space. I knew what the haircut felt like but had forgotten the rawness of it. He slowly ran his hands over his shorn head. Then I heard what would have made the hair on my neck stand up if I had any left. He produced the most gut wrenching wail I've ever heard, then started sobbing uncontrollably. I walked up behind him and wrapped him in my arms. He started sagging, I had trouble holding him up. Then he said something that stopped me cold. He wailed "I miss my dad so much". He turned to face me with the most tormented expression I've ever seen on him. "What am I gonna do Tim", he wailed. I hugged him tightly, pinning him to the counter to keep him from sliding to the floor. I could help him get past the horrible haircut, I had dozens of ball caps for him to borrow. I couldn't begin to help him with his missing dad though, other than to be here and be his friend. He needed more help than I alone could give on that account.

His mom was pounding on the door demanding to be let in.
Suddenly Rich went quiet. Somehow I knew this wasn't a good quiet. He wriggled out of my grasp and marched to the door, unlocked it, and slammed it open. His shocked mom standing there. "Look, Look what you did to me, I hate you mom". "Rich, stop, it's not that bad", then she made the fatal mistake, "you look just like Tim", she said. He lunged for her. I grabbed him and hugged him again tightly, pulling him back.

"Yeah, your god damned right I look just like Tim". "Sorry dude", he said glancing at me, "now there's two skin headed jack asses running around. We look hideous. YOU,YOU took away the last reminder I had of dad, our matching haircuts. This is on you, all of it". With that he collapsed in my arms sobbing again. Now his mom looked shocked, "Rich, I never even thought you'd react this way, it's just a haircut", his mom said quietly. "No mom, that's just it, you never thought, you never thought to ask, you just dictated, well that's the last time you do that. On top of loosing dad, now I don't look like him any more either". His mom started to turn white. "OH, Rich, I am so sorry , honey, I never realized it until just now. Son, I, I ", she started to approach us. Rich flipped out, "keep her away from me Tim, please".

I'd seen him grieve at the funeral, and even after that, but never seen him like this, this was bad, really bad.
His mom backed out of the room. I got him somewhat calmed down. We went to his room and both climbed on the bed. He held onto me tightly, crying softly until he fell asleep.
In the distance I heard a knock on the front door. I heard Riches mom open the door. Then I heard dads voice. Very quietly asking if everything was O.K.
I gently slipped out of Riches embrace and quietly left the room.
I found his mom in the foyer, hugging my dad, sobbing quietly.

I motioned them to go out into the family room at the other end of the house, shushing them as they went. We all sat down. Dad tried to sit next to me , I got up and sat in a chair by myself. He gave me a hurt look.

Riches mom started with "Tim, did you know he felt this way"? Now it was my turn, I'd had it with all the adults in the room at that moment. "Did I know about what? The fact that we were being railroaded into horrible haircuts by unconcerned parents? Well of course I knew", I glared at dad. "For me it's been going on for years. Be seen and not hear, right dad, is how I feel. I'm too young to be concerned with how I look, right dad".

I continued on with "Here's what I think happened, to Rich that is. He's been grieving quietly for his dad ever since it happened. You, pointing to his mom, have also been grieving, and haven't been tuned in to him. This whole head shaving thing, was the straw that broke the camel's back for him. He always thought it was so cool that he and his dad got the same haircut. He worshipped HIS dad. I thought he was pretty cool too. The three of us could sit and talk for hours about anything. I've known how cool he felt about getting the same haircut as his dad thing for years. You have to admit, they did bear a striking resemblance to one another".

I glared at my dad, "I've always wondered what it would be like for us to go and get our haircut and for me to look the same as you, dad, after all, we have the same hair. I often wonder what I'd look like with a great haircut like yours. You look so handsome with that fussy business man's cut, and yet you take me with you every time and have me unceremoniously shaved down every time, I don't even have a say in how I look. I'm going to be 16 and driving soon for God's sake. I still have the same haircut I had in kindergarten".
"It was always so cool going with Rich and his dad when they got their haircut. His dad clearly loved and respected Rich. And yes, whether you care or not, I've endured mocking and ridicule ever since kindergarten for this insanely hideous haircut. And frankly I don't care if you ground me for life, but it's the last time I'm getting one like this too. I've had enough".
I turned to Riches mom, I'm not sure what's going to happen when he wakes up. I'm not sure if it's better that I'm here or not. I don't know what he might do. I think he needs some professional grief counseling though. His mom nodded wanly, "yes, I agree on that", she murmured.

"I would like to take a breather myself, think you'll be O.K. for awhile?", I asked his mom. I'll come back and check on him in a couple of hours. If he gets up before that, send him over if he feels like it. With that I got up to leave.

Riches mom and my dad looked at each other , shell shocked . I walked out.
I burst through our front door, thoroughly dejected, and proceeded directly to my room, walking past my own mom without stopping either. "Everything O.K.", she asked meekly. I proceeded into my own bedroom. I didn't need to go visit the bathroom mirror to know just how bad I looked.
"I'm not sure its ever going to be O.K. again I said", closing be bedroom door .

A short time later I heard a knock on my door. "Son, can we talk?" It was dad.

Preparing myself for a tirade from him I quietly said "It's your house, I can't stop you ". He quietly came in and sat on the edge of the bed.
"Son, why didn't you ever tell me how you felt, especially about getting your haircut"? " I've tried sir, several times, you gave me the brush off, told me how I should feel. I've stopped trying is all". I replied wanly. He had a pained expression on his face. "I had no idea this was causing trouble for you at school either", he said quietly. "Don't worry about it I said, every school has a resident dork, I'm ours. Everyone knows I have strict parents who expect me to say, do and act and look exactly as they want, no ifs, ands, or buts". Dad was shocked. "Really"?, he said. "Of course sir. Don't worry when I graduate, I'll be off to college, then I'll be out of your proverbial hair, I'll make sure that I don't have to come back".
"Son, I had no idea you felt this way", dad said softly. "NO sir, you wouldn't, you've never cared enough to ask me".
"Oh, son, he said". For the first time in my life , I saw a tear forming in his eye.

"That changes here and now, son. You do matter to me, and what you think matters to me greatly." He sat quietly, looking as if he was searching for words.
"How do I begin with you."? He thought for a minute. "How about for starters, I never make you get that haircut again"?
I thought for a minute... "well for starters, how about I do as I like with my hair from now on, including let it grow out and look like Richs used to be, and go where he and his dad went to get it cut. No more butcher Frank."
Dad said "yes, of course, Rich would probably like that son". He shook his head and said, you won't need to worry about that for quite awhile though", reaching up and rubbing my freshly shaved noggin. I pulled away, feeling disgusted. "I don't know what to do with respect to Rich, sir. My fear is that this pushed him over some sort of edge" I can be his friend, I can help him past a horrible haircut, I don't know how to help him through losing his dad."

"I need to go back over and check on Rich and his mom" dad said. "Will you come with me please?"

Dad said "Somehow I have to make this right with him. I have no idea how, but maybe together we can figure it out." "I'm not sure this is a good idea dad", I intoned quietly, I saw how he was with his mom, he may be worse with you" "Well son, I can't say as I blame him really, now that I understand how he feels".

We walked in and found his mom in the living room deep in thought. She gave us both a pained expression. "He's in the bathroom again Tim, He was taking a shower".
She addressed dad, Nick, I was hoping not to have to, but now I see that what we both need is some professional grief counseling. I sighed, and walked to the bathroom. Tapping quietly on the door. "STAY AWAY MOM", was Rich's shouted reply. " Rich", I said quietly, it's me. Rich unlocked and opened the door.

I came in shutting the door behind me. Rich was drying himself off, he'd taken a shower. I knew from past experience it probably was to wash that awful goo out of his hair.
He stood. naked, and faced the mirror. pawing at the short tuft of hair left along his front hairline. I was distracted for a minute, taking in the sight before me. Rich looked for all the world like the little kid I was when I first realized how dorky I looked with the stupid haircut. Fresh tears started in Rich's eyes. Those blue eyes! they could bore right through me.

"Tim, what am I gonna do man? He's gone! "He started to sag against the counter. I reached for him and held him tightly to me. "Rich, man, I have lots of hats to help you thorough the haircut. I can do that. Let's get you dressed, I think we all need to have a talk. I marched him to his room. He threw shorts and a shirt on. "Now, I know my dad and your mom are in the living room. I've already talked with my dad about all this. WE need to talk about this together. I marched him out to the living room, we sat, together on the couch. Tim's mom started to speak. I held my hand up for to wait.

"I think you both know this is about way more than a horrible haircut, right" I said ,looking plaintively at both adults. Rich started to stroke the back of his freshly shorn head. The tears started again. I reached for his hand and brought it back down. He was staring at the floor.

"Rich, I'm going to call about counseling first thing Monday morning. WE both need to have some professional help to get through this. I am SO sorry this had to happen. I truly had no idea the significance of a haircut for you. I know I can't make it up to you but at least know that I now realize what it meant for you , please" his mom said quietly.
Dad spoke up, "Rich, I'm deeply sorry that this happened too. You have to know that I think of you as another son, always have. What I now realize is that neither of you are little kids any more. you're growing up. You have to know that Tim's mom and I will do whatever it takes to get you through this, O.K.? Your dad was a great guy, I can only hope that I can be a tiny bit as good as he was."

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