Locks of Love This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Myknees shook beneath the flowing cloak around me. I stared directly into themirror. My auburn hair framed my face and hung midway between my shoulders andelbows. My face showed a spectrum of emotions, from pride to fear, as I sat thererigidly. The beauty parlor wasn't usually frightening, I reflected, but Icouldn't shake my nervousness. Anxiety filled my head and crowded out why I wasthere. I trembled as the smell of hair spray permeated the room. The real reasonI was here seeped into my brain as I sat waiting for what seemed likeeternity.

A year before I'd celebrated my birthday with my relatives,including my mom's best friend, Ruth. She was like family. A few days later, mymother received a phone call from Ruth, who said doctors had discovered a lump inher breast. After a multitude of tests and hospital visits, she was diagnosedwith cancer. My mother took her for chemotherapy, and after many months, she wentinto remission. Everything was great, or so we thought. Then months later, therewere more trips to the doctor. She had cancer again.

Chemotherapy hadstopped and started again too quickly for this woman whom I viewed as my secondmother. All the pain she experienced never showed on her courageous face, though,and she never spoke of the anxiety she felt or the aches that the tensioncaused her. Through everything, she was guided by her faith. Ruth was veryreligious, and knowing that her condition was worsening, this spirited ladyaccepted her situation and looked toward life in Heaven.

As she grewworse, I saw her less. Every time I did, she looked more ashen. The last time Isaw her well, we were in her living room. Her hair was gone, but she still lookedlike the same Ruth. The sparkle never left her eyes as she spoke about herdaughter's upcoming wedding. I vividly remember these last moments together. Ididn't say much until I was leaving. I whispered "I love you" into theair, hoping she'd hear me. I still wonder if she did.

I came home one dayto hear my mother's quivering voice, phone held tight in hand. Ruth was in a comaat the hospital. Her color was gone. We left the room to give her husband anddaughters time together. Ruth's brother came and told us her suffering was over.Although Ruth was happier and with her own set of wings, it broke our hearts tosee one of the finest people we knew leave us.

Ruth was one of thoseinspirational people you feel privileged to know. In spite of her own fear, shebrightened others' lives and touched so many people. She told me about Locks ofLove, which provides wigs to financially disadvantaged children who havelong-term medical hair loss (especially alopecia areata). My hair was fairly longwhen Ruth told me about it, and so after she passed on, I decided it was time forme to help someone. I would donate my hair in honor of Ruth, but I became afraidof how I would look, pulling my hair back to try to see how I would look withhair that ended just above my shoulders.

To me it looked ridiculous, whichmade me apprehensive. Then I realized I was worried about sacrificing my hairwhen Ruth had given her life. So I was determined to cut it for my unknownrecipient, for me, and for my second mother, Ruthie.

I was brought back tothe present as my hairdresser reached into her pocket for the scissors that wouldtake away my tresses. She pulled my hair back into a ponytail and talked with mymother, my mane clutched in her hand. I remember the seemingly endless secondsright before the scissors severed my hair, and I felt lighter. My immediatereaction was to look in the mirror. As my short hair filled in around my face, asmile crossed my lips, all of my anticipation brought out in one emotion.

Locks of Love has a website.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 9 at 10:09 pm
i love this so much!
Yvaine_96 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 9:59 am
You are a beautiful girl, my dear. And to be honest, you should not be afraid of what's right. i myself am only 13 and yet i added on my wish list that when i die, iw ill donate every part of me to charity. That is how i plan to live on even when i am dead
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