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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Astonishment (02/02/12)

TITLE: Dreadlocks
By Debbie Roome


Teenagers! Swirls of hormones, emotion, and attitude that drift in and out of my home. What distresses me most is that my son seems to be the king of them. He’s become aloof and distant and I’m not allowed to touch him. Even worse, he walks out the room if my cancer treatments are mentioned. It’s as though he doesn’t care.

I sigh as I fold laundry and deposit it into neat piles. Today’s a good day and my energy levels are higher than they’ve been for a while. Maddy’s T-shirts, training bras and track suits go in one basket and Anna’s sequinned tops, skimpy skirts and tights go in another. I hold Brad’s jeans, hoodies and skull shirts to my chest before placing them in his basket. Why does he hate me so much?

I found money in his room last week. A wad of it stuffed into an envelope. I confronted him and it led to a big row that brought us back to the same old thing. His hair. I hate the way he wears it, hanging in dreadlocked ropes, beads and shells woven into the strands.

Where would he have got the money from? Selling drugs? Theft? A secret job? I threatened to confiscate it but he snatched it back and held it over my head. “You can’t beat me, Mom. You’ll find out one day where it came from.”

I carry the laundry to the relevant rooms and linger by each child’s bed. The doctor says my prognosis is good and once the treatment is completed, I should make a full recovery. I pray he’s right. The children need me and ...

“Mom!” Maddy screeches from her spot by the TV. “Mom! Quick! You’ve got to see this!”

I drop everything and rush to find out what’s happening. Her gaze is fixed on the screen as a Cheshire-cat reporter interviews a young man. His head is bald and smooth and in the background I recognise the Cancer Foundation logo.

“It’s Brad!” Maddy shouts. “She introduced him. He cut off his hair, Mom.”

I sink into a chair, totally sidelined by what is unfolding before me. The profile is familiar and as I mentally add hair, I realise it is my son. “So tell us why you did it, Brad,” the reporter purrs.

“My mom has cancer and I wanted to do something to help. I heard about the fundraiser months ago and decided to auction off my hair.” He laughs and looks directly at the camera. “I’ve been collecting money for the last couple of weeks but still have a few locks available.”

The reporter picks up a rope of hair and waves it around. “To all our viewers out there, please call in a bid if you’d like to support this worthy cause.”

If a little green man from Mars landed on my lap I couldn’t be more astonished than I am right now. Somewhere under all that teenage stuff, my son really does care. He cut off his cherished dreadlocks because of my cancer. A sense of wonder and awe buds and then bursts forth like a fountain. I push aside the guilt at the way I spoke to him; the accusations I made, and bask in the glow of his sacrifice. Suddenly those matted strings are no longer a source of conflict. They are cords of love that will bind us together forever.

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This article has been read 565 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Danielle King 02/10/12
Awww, absolutely beautiful. Heart wrenching and happy too, and drew me right in from the beginning. Excellent writing.
Ruth Thoutenhoofd02/10/12
What a great, heart warming story!
Tracy Nunes 02/11/12
C D Swanson 02/12/12
Wow - I enjoyed this story so much! Nicely done, well written and very different. Great job.

God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/12/12
Oh how I love this! I could so relate to the teenage drama, being sick and having an amazing son! Great take on the topic. I'm sure it will rank quite high.
Karlene Jacobsen02/13/12
Tissue alert! WOW! Your end brought me to tears. And I saw it coming, too, like I always do when watching my favorite movie for the . . . oh, I lost count . . . time. Great writing.
Allison Egley 02/13/12
Oh, I love this... I know someone in a similar situation, and her teenage daughter appears to be acting similar to how the MC thought her son was behaving in the beginning of the story. I can only hope that her story has a similar ending.
Cynthia Carter02/14/12
Linda Goergen02/16/12
Wow, this was a touching story. Wonder if it is based on a true story? Well done!
Michael Throne02/16/12
I like this story. I like how the MC is uncertain and imperfect and how the son does the unexpected. It gives us hope for our children, no matter how much they change as they grow. Good story!