It all started innocently enough, with a nice new top for Violet that we picked up at a street market. Soft cotton, with some nice embroidery, and big fancy buttons. A young girls dream. If only we knew the trouble it would cause. As it would be difficult for Violet to don on her own, we had instructed her not to try it on without help. We left the kids alone to go to a coffee shop at the top of our street, a treat we had been indulging in. Feeling safe with our kids in the apartment, behind a gate and security guard, we would sneak off and get a nice Americano and smoke an Ayurvedic herbal cigarette, a habit we had picked up to help us ward off the chaos of Indian life. Sometimes we would venture a little further around the corner to a beautiful little bookstore called ‘Literati’, a treasure trove of used books from around the world packed into an old traditional Portuguese Goan home. I had helped them set up their wireless internet, so they gave us great deals on some of the fantastic literature. The owner, a native of Goa, had spent years living in the US, and was well educated and cultured. The books ranged from the classic, to the new, to the obscure. There was even a section of children’s educational books, which suited our needs being the homeschoolers that we were, and with Violet having recently started Kindergarten by distance education.
Speaking of Violet, we sensed something amiss when we returned home from this particular venture for our caffeine fix. Cyrus was quietly reading in his room, and Violet was reading on the couch, but avoiding our eyes. Theresa went upstairs and found the new shirt mysteriously misplaced. Upon questioning Violet about why she had moved it, she started speaking rapidly, explaining how she had only wanted to try it on, and hadn’t meant any harm, and that everything was actually fine, yes it was. It was strangely like a scene from Anne of Greene Gables, which we had recently been watching for our home schooling studies. The horror dawned on Theresa’s face as she noticed the missing chunk of hair on the back of Violet’s head. Cut right to the scalp. Violet was born with a full head of hair, and had never had a haircut. At almost five years old, her hair was most of the way down her back. This cut was definitely noticeable. You would be blind to not notice it. In fact, a blind person could have felt the missing chunk just by its sheer atrociousness. Well, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was certainly saddening and upsetting.
It seems that Violet had thought the top was very pretty, and had wanted to try it on. This was an innocent enough desire. What child wouldn’t want to try on something so lovely. And who wouldn’t justify the harmlessness in doing so, even if asked not to? The only problem was the buttons. They were big, and they were a hair snag waiting to happen. Not to let a little thing like a lock of hair being hopelessly tangled and wrapped around a button while in the process of trying to remove a shirt she shouldn’t have been trying on in the first place get in her way, Violet did the most logical thing. No, ask her brother for help. That would have resulted in the perfect tattle-tale opportunity. No, she simply found the closest pair of scissors, and cut the offending chunk of hair off. Problem solved. Excess hair safely stashed in garbage. Shirt put vaguely back where it was. Brother none the wiser. Parents, well, they were a little cross. And somewhat saddened by the accidental loss of that soft, silky, never before cut hair… As a punishment for having betrayed our trust, Violet received her first ever haircut, a reminder not to mess with the wishes of the parental units.