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  • We laughed at the initial experimentation. I fashioned him an Anton Chigurh bowl cut. A mullet. A Mission-esque asymmetrical page boy. It is hair, after all. Extremely malleable. Impossible to add but so easy to subtract. It was like fast-forwarding through time, or maybe rewinding

    It was odd, seeing his locks pile up in a mound at our feet, taking stock of his surprisingly brunette shorn head . Each clip brought us closer to an iteration of him that gives his mother what she wants, which in this case is a sensible haircut.

    This haircut may be a concession, but it’s also a gesture to the imminent and radical change of moving to a new continent and moving into a new way of life. I get it–the desire to cut loose from what we have been doing–as much as I protested the move and the haircut. And I did protest, because that’s what I do sometimes in the face of change.

    My protests point to the fact that I care, maybe too much. And because I care I accept the change. I offer rides to the airport and wield scissors to herald the start of something new.

    A mess of boxes and piles of stuff crowded the floor of his bedroom; there was still a lot left unpacked. But with an early flight the next morning, he’d have to get it taken care of. The hair was one of the last things to go.

    And then it was gone. His short fringe lay neatly against his head, lending a pleasant and youthful roundness to his face. He smiled at me, looking like himself yet also not. He swept up the mound of hair that had grown long after months and months of wandering S.E. Asia; kicking around the city, trying to find or figure out what came next; growing up.

    What do you say to someone you may not see again (at least not for a very long time)? You definitely don’t mention the possibility of not seeing the person again, but instead draw plans rooted in the solid-feeling soil of the present moment’s desires, commitments, and bank balance, with the dim awareness that everything might change entirely.

    These plans are our good intentions: anchors that hold us steady in our small oceans of uncertainty. We need them, even if evolving circumstances prevent us from ever following through.

    I gathered my things. We hugged. He referred to good intentions–starting a blog, keeping in touch–the details of which I no longer remember. I smiled, despite the constriction of my throat, and said, “see you soon.”
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