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"I Do Have Regrets" - Alexandra Woodruff

            A lot of people say they live with no regrets.  I think that is just something people say to make themselves feel a little better or justify some awful decision they have made in the past.  I do not say “I live my life with no regrets” because I do have regrets and I have made the wrong decision.  Living with regrets is the reason I came up with my idea.  I fantasized about my idea.  I asked people what they thought about it.  Some people said do it and some people said it was the worst idea ever.  But, it would be like the last step in my changed life.

            I was not who I once was.  My previous personality was now a stranger who I could no longer remember what their hair color or other features look like.  The previous me, was that person in your dream last night that when you wake up, you can only really a blurry face.  Whatever was, was now gone.  Whoever she was, was gone.  I kept thinking that even though I had changed, I still looked like her, the old me.  I still looked the same, sounded the same and walked the same.  Previous me was rude and loud.  The true me had always been in there, somewhere in there, but I would have never shown it.  Previous me never would have admitted that I actually had intelligent ideas and would never have admitted what I liked.  I like folk music, being alone, not being alone, the early 60’s, classical music, Martha Stewart, and having an intelligent conversation.  I would love to start a garden and talk to a stranger on a train.  I do not like to put on make-up, I like to wear dresses and take pictures of my food.  I do not like going to parties and someday I want to write a book.  This search to find out who I really was, was almost over, however there was one last thing I needed to do to finally complete the metamorphosis.  My idea, which at his point was burning a hole in my head, it had to be done or I could not be happy.  I’ll admit, like any girl would be, I was scared.  I asked a girl, whom I barely knew, a friend of a friend, to do it to me.  Even though we did not know each other that well, she said she would do it.  She had done it before.  My friend, whom I barely knew, had short yellow hair.  It looks like she had dyed it recently.  I could see the roots just beginning to show through the little curls.  Her collar bones pierced through her skin; they looked like they moved as she walked.  She is very tall and thin and had fair skin and if I was a child, I would have believed anyone who said she was a real fairy.  She was usually hopping around or as I like to imagine, probably doing fairy things, like granting wishes.  We set a date and time, the next weekend, to do it.  There was no turning back now.  The whole week I thought about it but it did not really hit me that it was happening until I was sitting on a stool in Ian’s kitchen.  Ian, my cousin through marriage, was the only supporter of my idea.  He has been on this earth twenty-three years; he usually wears tight cut-off jeans, some sort of flannel shirt, and a hoodie with a punk band pasted on his back.  There are tattoos spotting his whole body and he has a big, metal, upside down U dangling from his septum.  The first time I met Ian I did not know he was my cousin.  I was sitting on the brown coarse carpet in his house.  I went to his strange house with my friend Brittany who knew Ian.  I was listening to Ian and Damien, his roommate, play acoustic duos.  Ian, who has a temper, got mad and smashed his dobro guitar into a door, still to this day I am not exactly sure what he was mad about. 

            I had long, brown hair, hair that I have probably been growing for around three or four years.  It was wavy and had sun streaks that had been accumulating from a few summers before.  My hair was split on the ends from the year that I dyed my hair bleach blonde and it had not yet fully rejuvenated.  I had bangs that covered up my slightly large forehead.  But that hair was not mine, it was previous me’s hair.  She was the one who lived the year with bleach blonde hair.  It did not belong to me and the hair had to go, just like the old me did. 

            I looked up at her from my stool in Ian’s kitchen.  I’m not sure what face I made but I’m sure I looked somewhat like a small scared animal.  But, like I said, it must be done for me to be happy.  Ian’s kitchen was filled with empty beer cans and over-flowing ashtrays were scattered around the house.  His house was always filled with a cloud of smoke; I could taste the cigarettes in the air.  Ian’s bathroom is right next to the kitchen, the door to the bathroom is painted blood red.  I could see into the bathroom from where I was sitting, it was painted purple and black and had clothes scattered all around the floor.  The bathtub had a bike in it; the bike had been in there as long as I could remember.  He also had bikes on racks on his walls and interchangeable handles hanging too.  In a few days, all the beer cans would be gone and the clothes on the floor would be cleaned and folded.  This happens every week; Ian has weekly “cleaning parties,” these parties consist of everyone getting together and help Ian clean the whole house, since they helped dirty it.  All the ashtrays would be emptied and the beer cans recycled.  I loved to come over on the cleaning days; everyone was like a big family.  I thought about that while sitting on the stool in Ian’s kitchen.

            The fairy began granting my wish putting my hair in a ponytail.  Before she commenced the wish granting, she asked me one more time if I was sure I wanted to do it.  I replied yes, probably still looking like a small animal.  Wish scissors in her hand, I took a deep breath as she attempted to cut through the thick tail with tiny, slightly dull scissors.  After the cut through the tail, she placed it in my hands.  I was in shock for a few minutes but a rush of relief swept over me.  She snipped here and there.  Every snip, I felt more and more free of previous me.  I watched the hair float to the floor.  I was now just me!

            When it was all over, I was covered in microscopic hairs and itchy from head to toe.  I no longer had long brown locks; I had under an inch of hair.  I remember sweeping up my hair; it felt like it was from a different person’s head, not mine.  I felt like I murdered someone.  I cupped my severed ponytail and the clump of hair I had just swept up from the dirty kitchen floor.  I thought of everything she had ever done while wearing that hair.  It was all gone, in the past.  I still had not looked in the mirror yet.  I am not sure if I was scared or too excited to look.  I could feel how short it was.  My hair felt sharp, like how freshly cut hair feels.  I ran my hand through my hair in awe.  I would myself trying to twist my long hair like it was still there only to be surprised when it was not there.  I finally walked over to the mirror and peered in.  Instead of thinking how different I look, I  thought about how this is how I am supposed to look.  This is my identity.  I felt secure.  I pushed my hair to a point on the top of my head into a Mohawk shape.  I played with it for a while and decided on combing it straight up, like each hair was trying to reach towards the sky.  There was literally a weight of my shoulders.  My head felt so light and I could feel a gentle breeze on the back of my neck.  My neck was not used to being bare so the hairs were standing up. 

            Everyone was in the living room watching a movie, unknown to what had happed in the kitchen.  When I walked into the living room, they were surprised but they obviously disliked my cosmetic decision.  My supporter, Ian, had recently cut off his “beaver tail” dreads.  Ian and I agreed that we had the same haircut and we now officially looked like cousins.  The rest of my friends gave fake smiles and fake complements.  Some peopled asked why I would cut off my “beautiful hair.”  I simply replied, “because”.  I live with regrets.