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Never Thought it would be forever by Ken

Growing up, my father shaved his head every day. I don't think anyone ever saw him with hair, but there were a few pictures around the house of him with hair. Still, I was a kid and idolized my father. For years, I used to say I wanted my hair cut just like my dad's. But it was always the same. My hair was about 2 inches on top, and trimmed around my ears. Every once in a while, I would say how I wanted it cut just like my Dad's, but always the same hair cut.

On my 12th birthday, my said it was about time for a trim. It was the usual routine, a hair cut on a Saturday. This year, my birthday was on a Saturday, and as I thought about it, this was the first time I got a haircut on my birthday.

It was a short walk to the barbershop and by the time we got there, the morning crowd had cleared out. There was just one older gentleman getting his hair cut. The shop smelled of cigar smoke, the barber smoked a cigar pretty regular and the shop always smelled of it.

The older man's hair cut was done, he paid and left. The barber looked over at me. "Ready, Timmy?" he said.

My mother stood as I got up. "Like we talked about on the phone," she said.

"You got it. See you in a bit." My mother left, she usually ran and errand or two on hair cut days. "Sorry about the cigar smoke," Timmy. "Do you mind?"

"No," I said. "Actually, I really like the smell. My father smokes cigars."

"What are you now, 13?"

"No, just turned 12."

The barber turned around and handed me a cigar. "Want one? I doubt your mother will mind much."

"I don't know."

"It's just a cigar, you don't really inhale. Just clench it in your teeth and puff."

I nodded. He draped the cape around me and then lit the cigar. "Now remember, don't inhale, just puff." It took a few minutes, but I got to where I could clench the cigar and puff. I must say, I enjoyed it.

"Okay," he said, "Ready?"

He'd never ask me if I was ready before, but with the cigar in my mouth, I couldn't talk, and just nodded. He reached behind and brought out a set of clippers. He turned them on and started at the top of my head. I could feel the cold steel and the light vibrations as he started cutting my hair. I couldn't see the mirror so I had no idea how short he was going. But he kept running the clippers over and over my head until I could feel the breeze on my scalp. I couldn't say anything, but did keep puffing on the cigar. When he was done, or so I thought, he wrapped my head in a warm wet towel. After a few minutes he took it off and covered my head with shaving cream.

"Am I going to be bald?" I asked with the cigar clenched in my teeth.

"You betcha," he said. "It's going to look great, just you wait and see."

I kept puffing on the cigar. Thinking about being bald, I stopped thinking about the cigar. He slowly shaved my head smooth. When he was done, he wiped it down and rubbed some moisturizer into it. He took the cape off and I took the cigar into my right hand. I looked at myself in the mirror. I was bald. Just smooth white skin where my hair used to be. I felt it with my left hand and it was smooth, no trace of hair.

"What do you think?" the barber asked.

"I like it."

"Well, you can have a seat and finish your cigar until you mother comes back."

I took a seat and continued smoking the cigar and thinking about what it was like to be bald. I was taking a few puff when my mother walked in.

She smiled. "You know, with that cigar and your bald head, you look just like your father." I looked at the cigar in my hand. "That's okay, you're only puffing it. No big deal. You can finish it on the walk back to the house."

So we walked home, I felt the sun on my now bare scalp. I smoked the cigar on the way back home and dropped it to the ground when I was done with it. There was more to my birthday, but that will have to come later. What I really want now is another cigar.

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