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  • Writer's pictureFrank Zapata



July 22, 2021 (Short Story)

When I was a kid the movie, The Mask of Zorro had a tremendous impact on me. I wanted to be him, fight like him, look as cool as him, and get the girl. Catherine Zeta-Jones was my first celebrity crush at that time.

But for my young age, I thought I would start with something more simple. How about trying to be like Alejandro Murietta, played by the cool Spanish actor Antonio Banderas. He brought such charisma to the character of Zorro, and well, I wanted to be like that in real life. But for some reason, I thought that getting the actual costume and the fighting skills was not the problem. My main concern was the hair. Antonio Banderas had fucking fantastic hair. There's a scene in the movie where he takes off the mask and shakes his head and hair, and I thought that was the coolest shot ever in a film.

I needed to have the type of hair that Antonio Banderas had to pull off the Zorro look. I, unfortunately, didn't have long or curly hair. I told my Mom about this frustration of mine, and so she suggested I get a perm. I guess my Mom was my first bully ever, but her stupid wisdom enchanted me, nevertheless.

I remember she took me to the salon or wherever the fuck she used to go to get her hair done during those days. I can't remember what the lady in charge of my hair looked like, but I remember telling her that I wanted it wavy and curly. And so, she proceeded ahead with my transformation. I started crying as I looked in the mirror. I looked nothing like Antonio Banderas and felt instant regret but couldn't do shit about it. Maybe I was just in shock because I should've gotten out of my seat and should've told everyone involving my hair to fuck off. But I sat still, hating my Mom and the lady working on my hair.

The ride home was terrible, but the next day was even more brutal. Imagine just walking and everyone just staring at you and praising you, and all of a sudden, I was the coolest kid in elementary school. Yeah, that didn't happen. Yes, everyone was staring at me but just made fun of me for the most part. I liked this one girl at school, and she was probably one of the first ones to make fun of me. She even dared to tell me I looked ugly. At least elementary kids are in tune and honest with their feelings.

I went home that day and just remembered being furious at my Mom. I think she just laughed and thought I was dramatic. I retired as Zorro shortly after, but I eventually just embraced it since I was stuck with my perm. Kids forgot after a few days, and I ultimately got my normal hair back.

What did I learn from this experience? That I wasn't as suave as Banderas and that mothers aren't always right. But I also learned that people forget and don't care after some time. I should've done more stupid things as a kid.

I at least have my adult years to choose the stupid things I have yet to check off my bucket list.

For those thinking of a perm, go for it.


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