4th grade was better than I could have hoped it would be. Given that I began a new school two months into the school year, things turned out well. As documented, I fell in love with a hottie. I took a kick-ass school picture in my cotton pink dress with my below-the-shoulder hair tucked behind one ear. It remains my favorite school picture. And I had three kids fighting over giving me the new-student tour of the classroom. Oh, and my awesome teacher Miss McCloud made us all apple ornaments for Christmas–an ornament I still cherish today.
So I was riding high going into 5th grade. Until I visited Lillian.
Lillian was a hairdresser my dad and brother had visited. Had I learned about foreshadowing by then, I may have avoided this unfortunate incident. But I knew nothing, so I happily allowed my mom to schedule a haircut for me with Lillian.
I sat in that chair and told Lillian that I just wanted a trim. A little bit off. She smiled and held my hair up to my chin, and I said, “No, not that short.” And I thought she understood.
I guess not. French Lillian started cutting away, saying, “a leeeeetle cut here. A leeeetle cut there.” When she was done, she handed me a mirror, and I looked at my new haircut.
And then I cried.
Tears and more tears streamed down my face. My beautiful below-the-shoulder hair that I could tuck behind my ear was gone. I looked like my brother. Or my dad. Or any other…BOY!
I know Lillian felt badly, but it was no consolation. My beautiful hair was gone, and it was no leeeeetle matter. It didn’t help that when I arrived at school to find my 5th grade class, my name was put on the boys list. Coincidence? Maybe, but it never happened any other year.
I survived that year. Barely. And though I couldn’t see it then, I can now see there were some crucial lessons I learned: a great fall almost always follows a great high, hair will always grow back, and the French are awful people.