The Ribbon from His Hair

By Jessica Kennedy

What is he doing with ribbons in his hair? I believe he wants to beat me, but he smiles and loves me instead.

A single ribbon lies in the drawer amongst the “junk”. I suppose anyone that came upon it would relegate it to the trash. I know its story and it begs to be told, but I must preface it with another.

Before I meet him, mom says, “No cussing or smoking. I expect you to be on your best behavior.” She shouldn’t have said a word. If 17 years did not teach her, neither did the following encounter.

I am upstairs. I hear my mom return. “Jessica it’s me. I’m back from the airport.” Great... time to meet this one, I think. Mom has been married four times. The last thing I want is another stepfather.

Primed for mischief, I walk in the kitchen. I can’t believe my eyes. Who the heck does he think he is? Steve and Mom are in the midst of a French kiss.

Hands on hips, I say in a stern and angry voice, “Get your tongue out of my mother’s mouth, now.” Steve jumps back, startled hands before him to signal he's no longer touching her, and blushes. Even his ears turned a bright pink. I know now what an easy mark Steve is.

Later that year, they marry. Years of my relentless teasing and tricks are before him.

Steve strolls into the kitchen with a new haircut and greets me. “Did you get your ears lowered?” I ask this question and arch a single eyebrow quizzically. He invariably chooses the cheapest, and they trim too much. This is worse than usual.

His steel gray hair has been chopped so that the bangs cover 1/3 of his forehead. His bushy eyebrows are prominent on the barren expanse. My insensitive sarcastic self asks, “Who did the damage and how much did it cost you?”

“$11.95”, he says his face reddening.

“I hope you didn’t tip them, because that haircut was just cruel.” I laugh.

The phone rings and there’s a knock at the front door. Steve grabs the phone, and I answer the door.

A delivery man hands me a miniature Christmas tree bedecked with scarlet red bows. I place it on the table, and my devious mind kicks into high gear.

Steve, on the phone with a business client, becomes my helpless victim. Efforts to wave me away accomplish nothing. I untie each silk strip on the tree, grab hanks of hair, and tie a bow around each. By the time Steve’s phone business ends, he sports about ten ponytails with red bows.

I present him with a mirror for him to see my handiwork. He chuckles. I stand beside him with a sign that reads For $11.95 You Can Look Like This, Too. I believe he wants to beat me, but he smiles for the camera and loves me instead.