I took my hair down cause I didn’t want it to be jacked up…
I swear talking to my niece is like pulling hen’s teeth sometimes because she never gives you the full story, and even when you ask the right questions, you still don’t get all the answers. Are all teens and preteens like this? I swear it’s like she’s in training to be a politician. But I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself; let me start at the beginning.
Yesterday, I walk into the kitchen at my mom’s house and my niece is sitting at the counter watching most likely some garbage on Black Exploitation Television (BET) or maybe even Disney. She turns around, sees me, looks up and says, “Hi Auntie, I took my hair down at Girls Scouts today cause I didn’t want my hair to be jacked up. I’m going out of town tomorrow.”
This little girl has my full heart, and I just love her to death, so whenever I see her, I stare at her so and just beem and today is no different. Sometimes she catches me staring at her and she’ll ask “What? What did I do.” All I can do is just smile cause she’ll never be able to understand. She gets all my love, the love that I had all stored up for the children I never had. Never thought I’d be unmarried, in my 40s and not have children. Never met the man of my dreams, and I never wanted to be an unmarried single parent. So there you have it, the reason for no kids.
Anyhoo… I actually have to shake my head to really “hear” what she’s just told me. Then I focus on her hair. She has taken down her cornrows and has puffs on either side, but down the middle she still has two braids left to undo.
“Ah,” I say, “So you’re going to get your hair done today?” Now although it’s about seven in the evening, it’s not unusual for her aunt-in-law to do her hair this late. But she shakes her head no. So now I’m confused, and I’m forced to inquire a little more.
“But your hair is REALLY jacked up now. I don’t get it. You took it down. It’s jacked up, but you’re not getting your hair done…???”
“Well duh,” she says. “Of course it’s jacked up. But I didn’t want it to be jacked up when I go out of town tomorrow. I’m going out of town with my cousins,” she says with a big grin.
Ok…now my head is starting to hurt a little. Sometimes I think she does this on purpose. Why does she ALWAYS start her story in the middle and expect you to already know the back side of it? She comes by this honestly though, cause her dad is the same way.
“Little girl… (I feel like Madea in the movie Family Reunion now) You’re NOT giving me the whole picture… the whole story. Think. What’s missing from this story. How is your hair going to get UNJACKED up if you’re NOT getting it done today.”
She looks at me quizzically like she doesn’t have a clue. I’ve actually got my hand on top of her head now, pushing it back to make her look me right in my eyes. So she starts rattling off random thoughts to answer my question. I’m starting to think my niece a little “touched” but then she comes up with “Ohhhhh…. I’m going to put it into a puff. So you see, I’m not going to get my hair done. I’m doing it myself.” Another big grin.
“Ah.” I shake my head. “You’re a retard. Why is it so hard to get the whole story out of you?”
“I’m not a retard.”
“Yes you are. You’re touched just like the little kids next door and your silly little puppy.” Last year, her mom bought her a min-pin they call Penny. This little dog is goofy as all get out, and we often tease my niece, saying she acts just like Penny.
“Grrrrr…. I’m not either.” she says.
“Heheh…you even sound like her,” I say as I leave the kitchen and go back out onto the porch.
I’m shaking my head and I look at my sister, and I say, “Your daughter is a retard.” She just laughs and says, “Ok we know that, what did she do now.”
I sit down and tell her about my encounter in the kitchen, which still turns out to not be the whole story. Lawd hammercy, but I’ll spare you all the details. So while her mom is filling me in, apparently little-girl-with-the-jacked-up hair is in the house trying to put all 16 nappy inches into a puff. An hour later she comes out onto the porch and says, “I can’t get my hair into a puff. I called Aunt Ophil to see if she could do my hair tonight, and she said she was getting ready to go to bed.”
Then she looks over at me. “Do you want to make $20?” she asks. Now me, my mom and my sis burst out laughing cause she says this as if she has a J-O-B, and she’s actually paying for it herself.
“Right now?” I ask.
“Please auntie, my hair is sooo jacked up.”
“Duh,” I say to her just like she said to me when we were talking in the kitchen earlier. “If your mom is going to drop me a $20 I guess I can do it.” I look over at my sister who shrugs, so that’s basically a green light. Now I’ve said it before, there is no shame in my game. If she can pay her sister-in-law to do her daughter’s hair, she just fork over the cash to me too cause doing her daughter’s long nappy hair ain’t no easy task.
Anyhoo I wasnt’ going to be doing anything else over the next couple of hours. Really long story a little shorter, I hooked little girl up. I braided her hair so that the cornrows swirl and all converge in the top of her head. The ends are left loose so she could wear a puff. It’s soooo cute, and she was very happy. And you know, in the mind of a 12-year-old child, my only niece and ONLY grandchild in the city, life totally revolves around her and the ONLY thing that matters to her most of the time is that she’s a happy camper. Ha! A typical self-centered preteen.
And honestly, that’s our goal most of the time too.
Ok, so mission accomplished and all was right in her little world for the moment anyway. So at least she won’t have jacked up hair when she goes out of town…to do some early shopping for school clothes later today.