By Melissa Frye
The bright, smiling faces of two seventeen-year-old girls framed in a clunky, aqua plastic picture frame. There we are, high school seniors seated on a school bus, holding up a sheet of lined notebook paper, turned on its side. Scrawled across the page in hastily drawn pencil letters: “Mission Jerry: Accomplished”.
“Mission Jerry,” a cheesy codename for a simple yet odd task. Who is Jerry? We’d noticed him in the lunch room sometime around October. One could hardly miss that curly shower of golden hair. Jerry had delicate, pixie like features, round green eyes, an upturned nose, and gold hair that reached his shoulders in curls that would make porcelain dolls weep with jealousy. Jerry was a freshman and beautiful. Nicole and I were well aware that our strange little crush on a freshman was completely unethical, but it wasn’t Jerry. It was his hair. It was naturally gold in color, an envious sun drop that bottled products promise and never deliver. Hollywood blond, curls full of mystique and stardom. If Apollo had walked into the high school, he would have had hair like Jerry.
The idea was simple, slightly menacing, and all around impossible. Our task was to clip off one of Jerry’s perfect curls and add it to the time capsule. I suppose we imagined ourselves to be waning Romantics, mourning over our own decaying beauty as we gazed upon the youthful vigor of Jerry’s hair. But to be perfectly honest to ourselves and everyone else, there were no Byronic feats of poetry we were hoping to cultivate. No, we were just insanely jealous of Jerry’s lovely locks.
Oddly enough, it was Nicole that managed to procure the curl. Amongst our friends, I had always been the bolder more adventurous of us. Yet, it was something as simple and demure as asking Jerry for a clipping of hair that had won in the end. No lurking around corners, waiting to pounce, sheers in hand. No signing up for art classes and sitting behind Jerry and plucking away. Not even the occasional stalking and picking up loose strands of curls left behind on chairs and headrests.
No, all it took was Nicole simply walked up to our golden boy and telling him, flat out, our little plan to snip off a lock of his hair and stash it in the senior time capsule. Shy, little Nicole… that mad fucking genius.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the golden strand of hair, not half as luxurious and luminescent, curled up in her palm. Clear tape wrapped around the edges to keep it all together. It would be simple enough to sneak it into the time capsule. After all, it was left out in the open for us to drop our own well wished messages into. So we took the picture, holding up our sign, beaming like two rabid weasels at a disco. Before homeroom the next day we slipped the hair into an envelope followed by the notebook paper sign, and into the time capsule it all went, not to be opened until our 50th High School Reunion.
Looking fondly back on that photograph, I can’t help but wonder why the hell we were so damn creepy.