Red Hair

by Chris Browne

Once there was a boy who had short red hair. He loved baseball and basketball. Whenever you saw him he would be playing these sports. He loved these sports and he loved his family also. Most of all he loved his father. His father was his inspiration; he was the one who taught the boy with the short red hair to dribble, to shoot, to throw, and to swing. He would always be at his son's games, whether in the outfield watching his son bat or on the sideline watching him rush down the court. Sports were not the only thing the father taught his son to love. Being a zealous Christian, the boy's father taught the child with the short red hair to love God. Every Sunday, no matter what, the father and his son would attend church. Soon the boy with the short red hair grew to love God as much as he loved his father. His father was pleased with this and told his son never to lose faith. The boy with the short red hair promised that he wouldn't. Upon hearing this promise the father told his son, "God will test your faith and it will take great strength to maintain that faith." The son told his father his faith was strong and there was nothing in the world that could change it.

On the evening of one September 11th, the boy with the short red hair was home with his mother when they received a phone call. His mother picked up the phone and listened; soon her face grew solemn. After hanging up the phone she sat down and stared at the kitchen table. The boy with the short red hair came up to his mother and asked what the phone call was about. His mother raised her head and took the boy's head between her hands and told her son that his father had been on a plane that crashed into a building. The boy was shocked, but he did not cry. Instead the boy just stared impassively at the table. The only word that did escape from his mouth was, "Oh." His mother then asked him if he wanted to talk about it, but he refused. His mother could not figure out why the boy seemed to remain so calm.

Over the next few weeks the boy continued his display of impassiveness. On the outside the boy appeared impervious to his loss, but deep inside the core of his being there was a bubbling mass of confused anger and sorrow. He was angry at everybody- the nefarious terrorists who killed his dad, his father for stepping on to that plane, but most significantly he was angry at God. He never told anyone this, keeping it to himself and letting the anger swell inside him.

During this time the boy lost all interest in his sports. Without his father's inspiration, he lost heart. Soon the boy's grades started to drop and his hair began to grow. Since his father was no longer there he had no one to cut it. The hair grew and grew until it reached his eyebrows. While it grew so did his anger at God. When his hair reached just below his eyes he renounced his faith in God. When he angrily declared this to his mother, she was saddened and alarmed. She told her son with the long red hair that his father would be disappointed and saddened. She told the boy that he was breaking his promise to his father. With a blank look in his eyes, he told his mother in a monotone that he didn't care, that there was no point. God had betrayed him. He no longer believed in God and was angry with his father for teaching him to believe in a higher power that either didn't exist or didn't care.

Now his hair was so long that it reached to the tip of his nose. It was on odd sight to witness- a boy with so much hair that you could see neither his eyes nor his face.

On the day that his hair reached his chin, the boy with the long red hair stopped talking altogether. His mother was sad and asked him to cut it, but he refused. Angrily his mother took the boy's head in her hands and brushed his hair back, revealing his face. His mother stared for a time, afraid to look away. Behind that curtain of long red hair she no longer saw her boy. Out of his eyes flamed the rage and pain that swelled from an unquenchable inferno that had consumed his soul.

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