That weird braid

Christal, my high school best friend, had alopecia areata for most of her life. Occasionally she would lose all of her hair, and when that happened she had to wear a wig. Usually she only lost some of her hair, though. At any given time she would have a bald spot or two, and unless she absolutely had to wear a wig, she would just change her hairstyle to cover up the bald patches.

During our senior year she developed a bald spot right on the crown of her head. There was no part, no comb-over. that would cover that spot. A high ponytail was out of the question because most of her hair wasn’t long enough to reach. After much experimentation, finally she decided that the only thing she could do was to pull a small section of her hair, around the bald spot, into a ponytail. She didn’t like the way it looked, so she braided it. It looked rediculous, but it was better than the male pattern baldness look she was sporting without the braid.

After years of living with alopecia areata and disbetes Christal was much tougher than the average high school student. Most of us would have died of embarrassment if we had to go to school with a hairstyle we hated, but for Christal is was just another day. She walked into school and never thought a thing about it.

And that would have been the end of the story, but something odd happened. A few days after Christal started wearing her weird braid I was walking down the hall and I spotted her walking ahead of me. I shouted her name, but she didn’t hear me, I hurried to catch up, and when I got there, it was someone else! And then later that day I saw another one! When I finally saw Christal at lunch I told her about the imposters I had seen wearing her hairstyle, but it wasn’t news to her… she had also seen several of them that day. Within a week you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing several girls wearing that hairstyle. It lingered at our school long after Christal’s hair grew in and she stopped wearing her braid.

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