Boarding School From: [email protected]
Katie sat nervously on her bed at Saint Mary’s Boarding School for Young Women in Northern Maine. It was her first day there, and as all new students did, she had been scheduled to meet with the school’s principal, Sister Mary Stuart. As she sat on the bed her hands absent-mindedly began to play with her long, dark blonde hair. It was pretty long, though not extremely. It usually hung in loose curls around the middle of Katie’s back, if she wasn’t wearing it up. Katie was extremely nervous, though she didn’t know why. The woman was a nun, Katie shouldn’t be scared of her. After all, she was sixteen, and that’s too old to be scared of nuns. When the time for her appointment finally arrived, Katie headed out into the hall and walked down to the office. As she passed one of the other dorm rooms she could have sworn that she heard someone crying, but it was probably just someone who was homesick. When she arrived at the office, three other girls were sitting on the bench in the hallway. Katie checked the times with them and found out that she was the first one in line. With her heart in her throat, Katie sat and waited. After about five minutes, the old oak door swung open and a young girl walked out. She was about the same age as Katie, but what was glaringly different was her hair. The bright red tresses, or their remnants anyhow, where shorn so that the girl almost looked like a skinhead. Katie sighed. She didn’t like girls who did that. Especially since the girl was walking around proudly, as if having your head shorn like that was a good thing. An old nun appeared in the doorway and slowly called out Katie’s name, “Katherine Delawsy.” Katie grimly followed the sister into the office and was shown through another door. The room was obviously the principal’s office, Katie could tell by the computer and all of the books. The old woman was bending over a plastic bag, shoving something inside of it. “Katherine, I am Sister Mary Stuart. Nice to meet you.” Katie nodded in reply. “Katie, as you know, this school bases its pride and joy on the success of our young students. We offer a great deal of classes and have only the best instructors to teach them. “But that is not enough. We need dedication from our students. You have to show me that you won’t let anything interfere with your studies.” “I won’t, Sister,” Katie nervously answered. She began to play with the ends of the French braid her hair formed. “I would like to believe you, Katie, I really would, but my past experience shows that young girls like you tend to pay more attention to more worldly pleasures than your studies, like boys. And make-up and how we all look. Well, you’re in a boarding school without any boys around, Katie, so you don’t have to worry about impressing anybody.” As the nun spoke she moved behind Katie and began to undo the French braid the girl had taken such care in forming earlier in the day. “And considering the amount of time it requires to take care of your hair, I see no reason why you can’t do without it for the next few months.” Katie, stunned at the words, spun around to see the old sister holding a pair of old, worn scissors in her hand. “No,” Katie began to say softly before the nun cut her off. “No arguments, young lady. Your parents have entrusted us with your education and you will soon learn to do as we say.” Sister Mary Stuart grabbed Katie and spun her around so that she faced forward once more. Katie began to sweat, the force the nun had used scared the Hell out of her. She could only imagine what the other girls before her had felt like, and then she thought of the girl she saw leaving the office. Katie was going to get the same haircut, she realized, and began to cry. “Grow up,” sister commanded, “Big girls shouldn’t cry over something as meaningless as this.” Sister gathered all of Katherine’s loose, silky curls and pulled them behind the young girls shoulders. They were wrapped into a tight ponytail, so tight Katie could have sworn that her eyebrows were now on top of her head. The young girl could only pray that the old nun would drop dead before she did the dastardly deed, but it was not to be. Katie felt her head being pulled back as the blades cut, no, they were so dull it was more like they were chewing or sawing their way through her hair. “No,” Katie moaned as the blades clicked together and the tight pulling on her head stopped. Loose, short, shredded curls dangled in front of her face as Sister moved in front of her. The old nun held the long ponytail out in front of Katie and had a disappointed expression on her face. “Just think of all the time you’ll save when you don’t have to wash or comb it.” Katie almost cried harder because she loved to wash and comb her hair. The old, wrinkled nun tossed the hair into the corner and grabbed another clump of the blonde curls. The scissors crunched across them and Katie watched as they slowly floated to the floor. “You’ll thank me for this, Katie. Trust me,” the nun reassured her. More and more of Katie’s beautiful locks began to cover the floor as the sat through the horrifying ordeal with her jaw and eyes clenched shut. Finally, the clicking stopped. Katie looked at the old nun, who had just a hint of a smile playing on the corner of her wrinkled lips, and then down at the floor. Her eyes opened wide at the amount of hair covering the floor, you couldn’t even see the floor around the chair Katie was sitting in. Katie fought against the urge to feel her head, even though she yearned to know how bad it was. She got up and, proudly holding her chin up, left the room. She knew the other girls in the hall were looking at her, but she tried to ignore it. She did turn around though when the sound of tears entered her ears. Two of the girls on the bench realized what would happen and began to cry. Katie felt sorry for them because their hair was much longer and prettier than hers was, and they were younger. When she got back to her room, tears began to run down her cheeks again and she ran in front of the mirror. To her horror, she realized that she now looked like a marine. Her blonde tresses were not spared, and all that was left were her darkened roots. It would take her years to grow back her luscious curls to the length they were just a few minutes ago. And she didn’t even know if her hair would have the same softness and sheen to it that was brought about by the glory of youth. She could only sit on her bed, run her hand over her stubbly mane, and wait.