Pelo Crudo

I stepped out of my room having just wet and prepped my hair to be straightened.

“I’m ready!” I said, excited to be getting my hair done after weeks of searching for a hairdresser.

I ran into the kitchen of my host family’s apartment which would serve as today’s salon, where my host mother, Ania, and my hairdresser Elena, a family friend, waited. Elena took one look at my hair and her jaw dropped, her eyes widened so exaggeratedly I thought they would shoot out of her eye sockets. She looked at Ania who gave her a sharp “I told you so” look.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, standing there confused with water and leave-in conditioner running down my neck and through my shirt.

Que Pelo tienes!” Elena said. “You didn’t tell me you had that much hair!”

“Was I supposed to?” I said.

I was perplexed. My afro is fairly large and ferocious on a good day, but it had never intimidated a professional hair dresser before. I didn’t know whether to take pride in this new-found afro power or to be concerned for what was to come.

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