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The Deepest Roots

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I walked into the salon after a long day to get my hair trimmed. A lady with a stoic expression seated me in one of the chairs, and I was left to stare blankly at myself in the mirror. I tilted my head, raised an eyebrow, and gave a little smirk. I was just fooling around with myself. The barber approached me, so I stop my silly facial expressions.

“How much shorter would you like your hair?”

“Four inches. Thanks.” I continued to watch that other identical girl staring back at me. I gave her a little wink. She winked back. She anticipated every move I made, but did she really know me under that layer of skin? I began to wander in my thoughts. I imagined myself moving through a time machine, going back until I was five years old. It was Sunday morning and I took a stroll through my garden. A dangling vine with its roots deep within the soil caught my attention. It looked strikingly out of place. I grabbed it with intent and tried to yank it out as hard as I could. The vine wouldn’t budge. I tried again. It was no use. Nonetheless, I kept tugging at it. “Come on! You’re a bad vine, you know,” I admonished. I grabbed it and pulled it from the right and left. I even jumped up and down, hoping it would magically listen to the powers of my tiny hands. I stopped and noticed myself breathing quickly. I was out of breath and glared at the unfitting vine among its flourishing flowers. I rose to my feet and exclaimed like a captain, “I’m not going to let anyone get rid of you, except for me!” I ran to the vine, grabbed it by its tip, and pulled for what seemed like hours on end. My dad finally came out to see what I was up to, and stared at my massive efforts. He chuckled, put his hand on my shoulder.

“Do you want me to help you?”

“No Daddy, no! I promised that I would get it out myself!”

“Okay, whatever you say,” as he slowly backed away, surprised at my reply.

No matter how hard I tried, the vine wouldn’t budge. My hands were bright red and they stung. It was lunchtime now, and I felt exhausted. As I slowly left the vine to go back indoors, I stared it down with every step I took backwards…

“Excuse me, would you like me to blow dry your hair?”

“Huh?” I was dazed and remembered where I was. “Oh yes, please.” I continued to think about all those Sunday mornings I spent trying to drag the vine out. It took another three years until I was finally able to do so. And on that day, I thought to myself - I did it, and I never gave up.

That was one thing the girl in the mirror didn’t know about me; she had been a stranger all along.





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