As in, Write•Ober. It’s a thing. I’m doing my own version of Writeober, inspired from Inktober, and I’ll be posting one piece of flash fiction every day for the month of October. At least, I’m going to try and post everyday. Flash fiction is generally 250-1000 words long. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m working from a list of writing prompts, which I’ve also posted on IG and FB.
Now, without further ado,
Writeober – Day 1: Hair
“Hair’s a strange thing, don’t you think?”
“What do you mean?”
Roberta glances back up at me from lying down on the carpet. We do this every Saturday night. She’ll come over, we’ll complain about all the stupid things going on in our lives, and then watch Billionaire Bachelor, while we eat cookies n’ cream ice cream.
I pull my hair in front of my face, examining the split ends. I should trim this squash colored mop. I wish it was curly like Roberta’s, and not flat iron straight that I can never do anything with.
“It’s like, just there,” I say, staring at my hair. “Like, why do we even need hair? What’s the purpose?”
Picking herself up on her shoulder, she cranes her neck around and eyes me carefully. “It’s … I don’t know. It’s hair.”
“Exactly.” I lean forward on the couch, dropping my hair, and stare at her intently. “What if we didn’t have hair?”
“You’d be bald.”
I roll my eyes. “No, I don’t mean literally. I mean, what if we didn’t have hair? Like, who cares about hair? Others than Stephanie, and Veronica, and all those other stuck up bitches we graduated with.”
She lets out a chuckle, now sitting with her legs crossed, ignoring the chisel-jawed billionaire on the screen, and the perky brunette who’s now crying because he gave her the yellow carnation for this week. “Judy, next week we’re starting college. College. You can’t keep thinking about those skanks. You’re not even gonna see them anymore. Stephanie’s going to Berkley, Veronica to NYU, and Babs to Miami.”
“Meanwhile, I’m still here in Arizona, about to go to community college, where no doubt there’ll be new mean girls who look down on girls like us for stupid, inconsequential reasons. Reasons like our hair isn’t as pretty as theirs.”
She shakes her head, as is her custom when I start complaining about things. Lying back down, she reaches into her bag of chocolate-covered almonds, pops another into her mouth, mumbling to me, “So what? You’re gonna dye your hair? If you really want to shock people and stick it to them, you should shave your head.”
I let out a cackle, falling back down on the sofa. “Yeah, like Brittany Spears.” She lets out a laugh, but I stop. “What if I really did that?”
“Shave my head.”
Rolling her eyes up so she stares at me over her forehead and I see an eyebrow raise. “What?”
“Roberta, what if I shaved my head?”
“Uh, you’d be a psycho.”
“No!” I argue. “I’d be against the grain. I’d stand out.”
“Judy, you’re not going to shave your head. Do you know why? Because you just finished complaining about being teased for stupid things like looks and hair. How do you think showing up to our first day of the semester will come across if you show up with a buzzcut?”
I don’t answer her. My mind’s already racing. I jump up from the couch and head directly into the bathroom. I hear her footsteps behind me. Swinging open a cabinet door in the bathroom, I grab an electric trimmer that my brother uses. I cringe a little because he doesn’t shave his head, so I wonder what he uses it for, but no matter! My mind is made up.
I grab the trimmer and unravel the cord attached to it, then plug it in. Roberta reaches out, grabbing my hand. “What are you doing?”
“I’m shaving my head.”
“No! No, no, no! Judy, you are not shaving your head. What is this? You’re gonna shave your head so any possible new mean girls won’t make fun of your hair? Now they’ll just make fun of head in general.”
“No, they won’t.”
“How do you figure?”
“Because this isn’t the Judy from high school. This isn’t the Judy who cried after Veronica told me I’m too skinny to be a cheerleader or the Judy who cried after Barbara told me I’m too fat to star in the play.”
“No? Then who is this Judy? What is this, girl? You’re gonna shave your head on impulse?”
I nod, staring at myself in the mirror. Cheeks bones slightly high, my orangish, straight hair, hanging to my shoulders. My light brown eyes that I’ve always wanted to be ocean blue or forest green. So many things I went to high school with; preconceived notions, listening to too many people, cowering to other opinions, second-guessing myself. Roberta’s my best friend, but I’ve always envied her, too. We’re not all that different in looks, other than hair. Her cheeks bones aren’t as high, and she has two dimples. But we’ve always differed in our personalities. She was always the stronger one, urging me to block out the haters. I was always the weaker one, unable to do so.
But not anymore.
I hit the switch on the trimmer and her grip on my wrist tightens. “Judy … are you sure about this?”
I surprise myself by staring back in the mirror, determined. I nod with a slight smirk. It’s not a nervous grin; it’s a confident one.
She lets go of my wrist and I run the buzzer directly over the top of my head. Then the sides. Running it above my neck, I come back over and finish by getting the remaining strands. Clicking the trimmer off, I set it down and run my fingers over the top. Feeling the bristle of tiny hair rubbing against my skin.
I’ve been staring at myself the entire time in the mirror. Finally, my eyes look over and I see Roberta standing next to me, her mouth half-open in a grin.
“What do you think?” I ask.