I love long hair, always have. Anytime I pass a long haired woman, I turn around and stare. I can't help it. My wife understands. Her hair makes me turn around. Jet black, silky and straight, and way down to her thighs - the best hair I've ever seen, save one girl from a long time ago - my first love.
Her name was Karen. I'm happily married to a wonderful lady now, and have two beautiful children, but Karen is still special, and my moments with her are something I will remember and treasure always. She was the first girl I ever loved, and though she never saw me as more than Janet's kid brother, I like to think we had a little bond.
I was twelve-and-a-half, and Janet was four years older than me, almost to the day. Though we had our share of battles, she was a great big sister. She always looked out for me, and was always there when I really needed her. She had just started junior year in high school, and I was a brand new seventh grader trying to adjust to the rather humbling experience of junior high school.
One day at the dinner table, Janet was all abuzz over the new friend she had met. Her name was Karen, and she lived around the corner, and was in most of her classes. She had moved here from somewhere in Wisconsin, and had the most incredible hair! "You just have to see it, Mom!" Janet exclaimed. I didn't think anything of it - I hated my sister's friends. They all teased me when they came over, and they talked too much for my tastes.
Then I saw her. My sister's school bus was late, and I was early, hoping to play catch with Billy Thomas for a few minutes on his front yard before our bus came. Billy and I were throwing his football back and forth - my back was to my sister and her collection of friends and admirers on the corner. Billy threw me a bullet that sailed over my head. I ran back and grabbed the ball off the grass and looked up at my sister, and froze. No more than ten feet away from me was the most incredible sight I had ever seen in my twelve years, six months, and eight days of life. My sister was right - I was staring at the most amazing and beautiful creation on God's green earth - a thick cape of chestnut brown hair that hid all of it's owner's body except for a tiny bit of shoulder, and the very bottom part of her legs. I stood, dumbstruck, and didn't hear Billy calling me. I watched my sister's bus come up, and watched this beautiful head of hair climb the steps. My sister followed her, and yelled, "What are you staring at?" Right after that, Billy tackled me, and asked the same question. I didn't answer, but punched him on the shoulder, and he said, "You're wierd!"
I was completely distracted that day in school, I couldn't think of anything but Karen and that hair. I just sat there in class and saw her standing there, her back to me, her hair reaching down past her knees. That afternoon, when I got home from school, I overheard my sister asking my mom if Karen could come over after dinner. The thought of her coming over excited me all over again.
I was in my room when I heard the commotion of her arrival. I ran down the stairs in time to see my mom saying, "You have beautiful hair, Karen!" I stared once again as my sister said, "This is my kid brother Joey. He can be a pest, but he's basically a good kid." Karen said "Hi Joey!" and smiled at me. All I could manage through my pounding heart and dry throat was a squeaky "Hi." They then went past me up the stairs to Janet's room. I sat outside the door and listened in as Karen was telling Janet about taking care of her hair. I was entranced as I heard Karen saying that she had never cut more than three inches of it at once, and had been trimming it only since she was nine.
I think back and realize that Karen really was a good looking girl. She was slim and shapely, with large facial features, a great smile, and very expressive eyes. Of course, I could only see her hair.
My sister and Karen became best friends, and I started hanging out with Billy a lot more, since Karen lived across the street from him. I would go out to the bus stop early enough to sit on Billy's front yard and see Karen get on the bus. Every time Karen came over, I was right there, and my sister was annoyed about it. I never said much- I would just sit there and admire Karen from afar. It wasn't a good day unless Karen crossed my path, and I got a glimpse of that fabulous hair.
Karen was in my thoughts when I went to sleep every night, and when I got a hard-on, and when I woke up with that strange stuff in my underpants in the morning. I dreamed of her, and that hair, and how it could surround me.
I guess my sister caught on to me pretty early, but never said very much about my major league crush, until one day I got a little too close. She cornered me later, and told me to stay away from her and Karen. I said no, and she started teasing me, and I ran away crying, embarrassed that my sister could see through me. I felt terrible that night. I knew my sister would tell Karen about me, and she would laugh at me. Two days later at the bus stop, Karen turned around and said, "Hi Joey!" and totally shocked me. Just a quick smile and hi, and all was right with the world once again.
My sister's teasing never got in the way of my eavesdropping on their conversations - Karen came over at least once a week. I loved to hear them talk about Karen's hair. I could tell by listening when my sister was brushing it, as she kept complimenting Karen on it. But the moments I truly lived for back then were when I could see that magnificent mane flowing and swaying behind her, almost like it was alive.
Summer came, and I quickly discovered where Karen was working - at the local drugstore. I blew my allowance on candy at the store, which I always took a long time to choose, and I always paid for it at Karen's register. She always talked to me - nothing much, now that I look at it, but then, she could have been speaking greek for all I cared. I also spent a lot of time at the magazines, because that gave me the best view of her hair behind the counter. She wore it in a braid quite a bit - this gigantic rope of hair - and it fell to her knees. Once in a while, she wore it up in a bun. Those days were special, because if I waited long enough, she would undo her bun and let her hair down. She'd shake it out, run her fingers through it, and put it back up again. She still wore it down about a third of the time, and I'd try to catch her at the end of her shift, so I could follow her home. In the middle of the summer, I actually got up the nerve to talk to her on the way home. Fifteen of the best minutes of my life, up to that point anyway. I told her she had cool hair, and asked her why it was so much longer than the other girls' hair. "I'm just lucky, I guess," she said. "All the other girls keep wanting to change and cut their hair, but I like mine long like this. You probably wouldn't understand. A lot of my friends don't understand." I said that most of the girls in my school all wanted to look the same and dress the same, but I thought that was stupid. Karen smiled and said, "Hey, you're catching on, kid!"
Before I knew it, summer was over, and school started again- Karen and Janet were seniors, and I was in the eighth grade. Back to the familiar, with bus stop hi-jinks coming to a stop when Karen came by, and her visits to my sister's room. I could see that her hair was growing longer, and better. By the spring, it was just above her ankles. It looked like a coat - a beautiful, soft coat.
One day in the spring, I overheard talk that scared me coming out of my sisters room - talk of a haircut! I was horrified! Karen and Janet had a long talk about her hair, and how Karen wondered if it was too long, and if she should cut it. To her credit, my sister tried to talk her out of it, and gave reasons that I have heard many times since, the most compelling of which was "You'll never forgive yourself!" For about a month after that night next to my sister's door, I was afraid to see Karen, afraid that her wonderful hair would be gone.
I constantly dreamed about her, but for that month - in my dreams - I saw her get off the bus after school with short hair and ran home crying. How could she do such a thing! I still had no concept of how long hair affected someone's life - especially someone like Karen, but I got a pretty good idea of what it was all about during my 'spy' sessions.
A girl named Debbie was very interested in me that whole eighth grade year. She was constantly flirting with me, but I didn't care. She only had hair to her waist, and didn't compare in the least to Karen.
One day, while watching TV, I found one of Karen's hairs next to the couch. I quickly took it up to my room, and laid it out on my bed. I ran back down and stole my mom's measuring tape, and applied it to the hair. It was almost exactly five feet long! I'll tell you what, I was never been so careful of anything as I have that hair. I found a cotton ball, and stuffed it in one of those little film containers. Then I gently wound the hair around my finger, and placed it on the cotton ball. I put another cotton ball in, and sealed it up tight. I still have it to this day.
High school graduation day for me was exciting. My sister was in a frenzy, but all I could think about was Karen. I counted down the bus-stop days, to the end, and felt sad that she would be gone soon. She turned a lot of parent's eyes at the ceremony, since she wore her hair down. It fell past the hem of her gown, and down to within a couple of inches of the ground. She was magnificent to my adolescent eyes. After the ceremony, my parents got me into a picture of Karen and Janet. I put my arm around both their waists, and suddenly couldn't breathe. All the hours I spent staring at Karen, and this was the first time I ever really touched her hair. It felt incredible. It was so soft! I broke into a sweat, and very reluctantly let go. I let some of her strands slide through my fingers as I pulled away, and she quickly backed off and ran her hair through her hands before letting it fall down again. That feeling of my arm against her hair stuck with me for a long time.
Don't ask me how my young mind came up with this, but I decided to get Karen a special present for when she went off to college. I decided to get her a hairbrush - something that I hoped would make her remember me. I went to the mall, and looked for the most beautiful, most expensive brush I could find. I was shocked to see it was eighty-five dollars, but told myself I would make the money and give it to Karen a week before she left for college.
I worked my tail off that summer, doing yard work for the neighbors, helping Jimmy Hansen on his paper route, you name it! I worked and saved, and worked and saved... I didn't spend nearly as much time around Karen as I did the summer before, though she still came over to see my sister quite a bit. I did meet her one day as she was coming back from working at the drugstore. "Hey Joey! Where have you been? I missed you at the store!" I told her I was working a lot of little jobs, to try to make a little money. "Hey, that's good," she said. "Get used to it!"
With two weeks left before school, and Karen's departure to California and college, I finally counted my money. One hundred and thirty two dollars! I had enough for the brush and some left over. At the mall, I told them it was for my mother's birthday, and they stuck it in a nice box and wrapped it up. All I needed was the right moment to give it to her.
Karen actually gave me the moment- handed it to me, so to speak. She came over looking for Janet, but Janet was out with my mom. Karen looked magnificent as always, with her hair down and a little mussed up from the wind. I said: "Wait a minute, I want to give you something," and ran upstairs to get the present. I came back down and handed it to her, saying, "a sort of goodbye and goodluck present." I was surprised at how calm and mature I felt. Looking back, I think it was because my whole summer led up to this. She opened it and just sat there looking at it, and finally said, "Oh Joey, how did you - why did you... It's beautiful! But why?" I gave her the speech I had practiced for the last six weeks, and told her "Well, you have such beautiful hair, and I know it means so much to you, and I thought you might use it at college and maybe think of me..."
"Joey, I can't! This is too much for you - where did you get the money?"
"Oh, it was nothing, really. I want you to have it."
"That's so sweet of you, Joey, but -"
"Please take it, Please??"
"Well only if..."
"Only if you are the first one to use it. Here," she said, and handed the brush to me. She turned her back to me, and gathered her hair, shaking it out.
"OK, go ahead."
There it was, less than a foot away, five feet plus of silky brown perfection. Heaven was staring me in the face! I was trembling and sweating, and my mouth was cotton. I placed the brush into her hair and pulled gently down. I pulled all the way to the floor, and stood back up.
"Make sure you use both hands. Hold the hair in one hand, and brush with the other," she said gently.
I did as she said for stroke after glorious stroke. Her hair felt like nothing else on this planet - so soft and smooth! I started each stroke by her head and went slowly down to the floor. As I did, I felt out of breath, and had a wierd feeling in my gut. It didn't hurt, it was exciting.
After what felt like about 30 seconds, but was actually about five minutes, she said "How does it look?" I stepped back and said "Perfect," and meant it. I just knew I would never again see hair like hers, and that the world would probably end when she left for college.
She turned around again, and I saw she was crying. I asked why, and she said "Thank you, Joey. You are so sweet. This is about the most thoughtful, nicest thing anyone has ever given me, and I will remember you, Joey." With that she kissed me on the forehead and hugged me tightly. I slid my arms under her hair and hugged her back, and felt her hair on my arms as she swayed back and forth. Finally, she left, without saying a word. She walked out of my house, and out of my life. I never saw her again.
She did write me about six times over the next few years - just little notes to thank me for the brush, and tell me about her hair. She grew it past floor length, and brushed it every night with my brush. Last time I heard from her, she was in graduate school at Berkeley, and she had over seven feet of hair.
I guess she stayed in touch with Janet, but to my knowledge, never told her about the brush. This year, I got a Christmas card from her - she must have gotten my address from Janet. She sent along a picture. There she was, as beautiful as the first day I saw her over twenty years ago- no, more beautiful than I imagined. Her brown hair was as thick as ever, and framed a beautiful smile. She was holding up her hair, or at least some of it, and had a familiar brush in one hand, stroking it. Her hair was obviously still incredibly long. I asked Janet about her, my childhood memories stirring. "She says she hasn't cut her hair off, and now keeps the "Crystal Gayle" look - to her ankles! Her husband helps her take care of it. Can you believe it?" I told Janet, "Yeah, I think I can."
On my way home, stopped at a light, I went to put the
picture in my wallet, and saw the back for the first time. It said: "See
Joey? I still remember! Love, Karen." I dated quite a few long haired women,
and admired even more from afar, and married the best girl of all of them,
but Karen was someone special. No, we never went out, and the sex was all
trying to sort itself out in my adolescent mind, but in my own way back
then, I loved her. Man, was she special! I put the picture in my wallet,
and told myself "You never forget your first love..."
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