Unapologetically – by Torché Johnson (Adult)

Week two is pink.
“Blonde hair on Friday and pink today. You’re a wild girl huh, Rose?” Winks former cheeky crush Benji.
“I love the new hair!” A lie from Jessica followed by a poorly hidden eye roll.
“I liked the blonde better; but you can pull off a Princess Bubblegum,” admits the hilariously quick-witted but oftentimes hurtfully honest Adam.
“You know, I heard if you dye your hair too much it’ll eventually fall out. And then you’ll be like…bald,” retorts the pretentiously uptight Katherine.
My desk partner, Annie, is intentionally mute. Our six year friendship ended abruptly two summers ago and painfully diminished to mere obligatory partner work. All traces of her quirky personality completely ceases when she’s forced to be near me in class.
Week four is green.
“It’s not Saint Patrick’s day anymore,” a much expected reply from Katherine obvious.
Two compliments from Benji and Adam and a backhanded one from Jessica.
As expected, nothing from Annie. I’m afraid my neon shade of green speaks louder than she ever will. Even so, her silence is deafening.
Week six is different.
It is the boldest and most frightening week of them all.
Why?
Because it’s truth week and well, truth has no color.
It has no tint, texture, or shade. It is purely, simply, and unapologetically bald.
As am I.
I enter the classroom with feigned boldness; instantly, all eyes are agape and silence lingers heavily.
Finally, everyone opens their mouths and speak all at once, stumbling over one another’s words like a clumsy race. Wanting to be the first to compliment, inquire, admire, or mock.
But Annie’s voice is the only voice I hear.
For the first time in a long time she looks up from her desk and at me, directly and deliberately, “Rosie, your hair! Have you been wearing wigs all this time?”
I instinctively run a hand over my smooth, flesh covered dome before giving a nonchalant shrug, “Yep.”
“But why?”
I mull over my words carefully and decide to keep them needfully simple, “Chemotherapy.”

Learn more about the author:

Torché Johnson

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-03
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