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at the bus station by Storyteller

When I was 16 my brown and straight hair was down to my shoulders, completely covered my ears and the bangs fell over my eyes. It was the early 1980s and I was allowed by my parents to wear long hair since I was eight. So it was a long time that I didn't have a haircut that exposed my ears and I never had a haircut with clippers.

I was a good student and a good son, I was very responsible. My parents already gave me permission to travel alone. So, that summer I was going to spend a season with my uncles on the beach. As it was decided at the last minute that I was going to travel, there was not enough time for me to do my traditional hair trim, which I did every 3 or 4 months.

My mom suggested it would be good for me to get a haircut before I go, I agreed, but there would be no time to stop by the barbershop, so I remembered that there was a barbershop at the bus station. My parents dropped me off at the bus station and I went to look for the bus departure gate and found that the barbershop was almost in front of it. As there was enough time, I went to the barbershop.

It was a very small place, there was only one barber chair and two waiting chairs. The barber was an elderly man and appeared to be a friendly and very simple person. I said to him "Good afternoon, Sir, could you cut my hair?" He smiled and said "Yes, welcome in" I went in, I nodded asking if I could already sit in the barber chair and he said yes, so I sat down.

He took a nylon cape and placed it around me, closing it tight. I told him "How lucky I was to find your shop open and not busy, Sir, I needed to get a haircut before taking the bus" and he smiled and said "Ah, yes, will you take the bus over there?" looking out, and I said "Yes, that's right, I have to get a haircut before I go"

He then swung the chair around to face the door and promptly, without asking me how I wanted the cut, had clippers with # 2 blade, he turned them on and started running then over the top of my head. I got surprised. I got wordless. The barber, while making the second clippers pass, said "you know, son, it is quite common for boys who are going to take the bus to the military training camp to arrive here hairy and ask me to get a standard cut before leaving" he smiled and kept saying "I’ve heard that if you get there with long hair they shave your entire head and keep on your track. It was good that you came here to get a cut before leaving"

I understood then what happened, when I looked ahead and saw that right in front of the barbershop there was a bus named after the city where there was a well-known military training ground, so there has been a misunderstanding. There were even some boys with military haircuts waiting there. I didn't want to sadden the barber and didn't say there was a misunderstanding, I just nodded and smiled.

He continued to run the clippers and soon he had left all my hair on the top as stubble. He then exchanged the blade for a # 0 and started running the clippers on the back, pushing my head forward, my long hair falling in front of me. He made several passes, from nape to crown.

He said "you will miss the long hair at first, but then you get used to it, you will have to live with this cut for a long time". To be kind, I said "Yes, Sir" He said "You seem to be an obedient and orderly boy, you will do well there" and I said "Thank you, Sir".

He tilted my head a little and started to move the clippers on the right side and I realized that my ears were getting exposed. He made these movements on both the right and left sides.

Then he put my head in an upright position again and with the help of a comb he made a few movements around the top, making the hair on top suit the sides and back. Then he took an electric shaver and made the outline on the nape and around the ears.

He then took a duster brush and dusted my face and my head. He turned the chair over to the mirror and said "Okay, son, now you can take the bus" I smiled and said "Thank you, sir" He removed the cape and I got off the chair, and paid.

When I was paying there was already a new client arriving and I left the barbershop saying goodbye to the barber. As he soon got busy with the other client he didn't see that I went towards the other bus.

I had time to get on my bus and I traveled with a person by my side who started a conversation with me, at some point she asked if I was in the army, I explained that I wasn’t in the military, she asked why I had my hair like that, then, as it was unusual for the time, and I replied that I liked it that way.

In fact, I hardly had time to see my image in the mirror and I didn't have time to know whether I liked it or not. But, the image that I was going to show arriving in my uncles' city was totally different from the one when I left home ...

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