Getting Caught in the Rain: A Hair Story


I love this story. It’s included in my book Sonic Memories . I decided to post the entire story on Medium. If you like what you read, check out the rest of my book. 

I used to lust after white girl hair: bouncy and shiny, bone straight or lustrous curls. Anything long that could get wet and lay straight to the scalp would do. Until college, I was always the only black girl in my grade, a speck of pepper in a sea of salt. Surrounded by hair drastically different than my tightly coiled, vertically challenged locks, I longed for what I believed I could never have. I sat behind Jennifer — there was always a Jennifer — and watched her separate a lock of hair with her forefinger and begin to twirl it from root to tip. Sometimes she would insert her #2 pencil into her tresses and twist and then let go, the hair spinning in a silky ribbon. I stared at the back of her head until I saw myself with Punky Brewster’s ponytails or emerging from a pool, hair slicked back. The Jennifers had hair that obeyed, falling just right, back into place. In its natural state, mine is thick like a bramble bush. It has to be heated to straighten, will stick out if twirled, and never follows my orders to fall back into the fold. Attempts to wrap my hair around my finger left me smoothing and re-smoothing the same stubborn patch in vain. Continue here