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January, last year by Storyteller


The story I tell now occurred when I was 11 years old. I spent a few months at home for health reasons. It was the 70s and all the boys my age had long hair. Even before I had to stay at home, my hair was already quite long. My hair was straight, brown and, for those days it was beyond my shoulder, it completely covered my big ears and I kept the entire time taking the bangs out of my eyes. As soon as I was recovered and could go out my mother said that I should go to the barbershop to get my hair trimmed. As I was an obedient boy, I took the money and went to the barbershop. I was already quite used to the barber and so was him. He knew that I was a shy boy and that I was allowed to keep my hair at a long length. So, I didn't need to say anything, he knew he should just cut a little. The time of seclusion made me even more shy and embarrassed, but, okay, I just had to go to the friendly barber and wait for my cut.
So, I went to the barbershop to answer Mom's request. Arriving there, what a surprise, there was another man in the place of the barber. He was a very different man, a little younger, seemed to be a strong man, had very short gray hair and a neat mustache. He wore a different uniform, which resembled camouflage clothing. I entered the barbershop, which was a very small place, always with the door open, and, very shy, I greeted him in a very low voice "Good afternoon Sir". He smiled and held out his hand to greet me. "Welcome, son, how can I help you?" I, very shy, just pointed at the head and the hair. He smiled and said "Oh yes, please sit down" and adjusted the barber chair for me to sit. I soon sat down. He opened a very large cape and put it around my neck. He took care that my long hair did not stick inside the cape. Then he took a comb and started combing my hair. He asked "Did you use to come to this shop when it was the other barber who worked here?" I nodded. He then said "He hasn't been here in a while. Haven't you het your hair cut in a while?" I nodded again. "How do you want me to cut your hair, son?" he asked me. I was silent, trying to think how to tell the barber it was just to cut a little bit. He then said "Hummm, are you really shy, huh?" I was even more embarrassed, my cheeks turned red. He said "Let's see, would you like me to cut your hair the way the other barber used to?" I nodded my head.
"When was the last time you came? What month was it, do you remember?" I got confused, because I was a little lost by the time I stayed at home, and I said "January last year", when I wanted to say 'this year' "It's been a long time then," he said. "I think I know how you want it" I smiled, relieved that I didn't have to speak much.
The barber lifted the chair and turned it, so that I couldn't see the mirror. It was strange to me, because I had never seen that happen, nor did I know that the chair could turn. He went to work on his tools and in a short time he was back, he had very strong hands, he held my head very tight, with one hand he held clippers, with the other he pushed my head down. He then turned on his clippers, which had #00000 blade and a loud noise came over the place. And I felt a chill in my spine and started to feel metal touching the back of my head. He ran those clippers from nape to crown. When he stopped a lot of hair fell in front of me. I was very surprised and scared, but he didn't see my reaction because my head was buried in my chest. And then he started to make another clipper pass on the back of my head, exactly the same way he did the first, and a lot of hair fell in front of me. While he was working on the back, he started trying to break the ice, asking questions that I was politely answering, and so he found out where I lived, my age, where I studied, how many brothers I had. So, I lost my shyness and felt more comfortable with him. I told him that I had been sick at home for a while and that the other barber was almost like a friend to me. He smiled and said that he also wanted to become my friend. I was very happy with that. I wasn't even paying attention to the cut anymore. By this point he had used his clippers all over the back and now he moved my head a little to the side and started running the clippers on the right side, from sideburns to crown. He did this very quickly. Then he folded my ear and worked around it. While he was moving to the other side and leaning my head, he asked me "Did you like my uniform?". I smiled and said yes. He said "Yeah, I thought you liked it" and added "Soon, son, you'll be back the way you like it" I didn't quite understand why he said that but smiled. He ran clippers on the left side, and when it was finished he turned them off and put my head upright again.
Behind the chair, he went back to his tools, changed the #00000 blade for a #2. He stopped in front of me, held my head very tight, turned on the clippers again and started running them ver the top of my head. I felt a buzz in my head, and I saw a lot of hair falling down the sides. Meanwhile he kept talking to me, about soccer, TV and many other things, I was already feeling like as if I was with a friend. It didn't even look like he was an adult, because he knew exactly what to talk about. He was already calling me 'buddy' and I really liked that. Shortly after he finished using the clippers, he turned them off and put them away. He took a hand mirror, turned the chair around and showed me the cut saying "Okay, buddy, now you have the haircut you like again". Before I could have any reaction he started to run his hand over my head and ... wow, that felt so good, I felt so good, I didn't even make any surprise comments, just said: "Thank you very much, Sir" He said "You’re welcome, buddy, it’s a pleasure to help a friend." He picked up a duster brush and started dusting my head, face and neck, taking good care to clean around the ears. In the meantime he said "Now, let's set the following: now that you are healthy, do not delay to refresh the haircut you like so much, come here every 2 weeks, then we can talk, have fun and I cut your hair, don't worry about paying." I was very surprised and said "Really, Sir? " And he said "Of course" and reached his hand out and said "Deal?" and I greeted him and said "Deal". He opened the cape, let hair fall to the floor, ran his hand over my head again and said "See you in 2 weeks, buddy" and I left the barbershop, happy, with a military haircut and rubbing my head.




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