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Uncle Fred. by Domko
My name is Peter and I only lived with my mother. It happened 45 years ago, when I was 14 years old. At that time, it was the dream of all boys to have the longest possible hair, and I was no exception. My hair covered my eyes and reached under the collar of my shirt. I've had more problems at school in the last year and the teachers have said that I have a lot of problems with me. The holidays have begun and I have made my plans for how I will enjoy them. Plans changed with the decision to go on vacation to Uncle Fred, who was an officer in the military. I knew about him that I have high demands on discipline and he doesn't like my hair.
So I traveled by train for about 2 hours to see Uncle Fred, who was waiting for me at the train station. Immediately after the welcome, he warned me that I would call him Lord and that I should not use the word NO or I DON'T WANT. On the way by car, he informed me that I was going to get a haircut. It pulled my throat at that word. When we stopped with the car, I noticed a fairly modern salon and I assumed that I would not get a drastic haircut there. Uncle Fred showed me at the opposite end of the square, but to a completely different barber shop called MATTHEWS barber shop, which at first glance looked old-fashioned. He told me to go to the bottom to get a haircut and then I had to wait for him there.
I walked into the Matthews barber shop, greeted each other politely, and sat down on the waiting chairs. There were 4 old men and two boys I estimated to be 13 and 10 years old, both with short hair that only touched the top of their ears. I assumed they were brothers. The barber was an older slender gentleman with short hair. I was going to figure out what kind of hairstyle I would ask the barber for. I noticed how the younger of the boys sat down in the barber's chair, wrapped him in a tarpaulin and turned him away from the mirror. He took the electric shears, bowed the boy's head, and began to cut. Probably the barber knew the boy and knew how to cut him, because he didn't ask how to cut me. Then an older boy replaced him in a chair and the whole situation repeated itself. They were both equally trimmed, then paid and left. The old man sat in the barber's chair, and I realized that it was my turn.
Another word to the barber: I got up and took an uncertain step to sit in his chair. The barber asked me if I was new here and I said yes, because I will be with Uncle Fred during the holidays. The barber wrapped me in a tarpaulin and turned his chair away from the mirror. I saw people on waiting chairs looking at me. There was also a boy sitting there who looked like he was about 2 years older than me. The barber, meanwhile, was combing my hair, and I waited for him to ask, "Like I'm cutting you today." But without the barber asking me something, he leaned his head forward with one hand and suddenly felt the cold metal of the electric scissors on my neck. When they started I felt their gentle kicking and the barber climbing with them to the top of my head. I wanted to avoid them, but the barber pushed my head harder until I touched my chest with my chin and told me to sit still. I already noticed my long hair on the sail. The barber shook my head and continued cutting. When I could shoot for a while, I saw a boy in a waiting chair still watching me and smiling. The barber also cut my hair on my scalp and combed it slightly to my side. He then moistened my neck and over my ears, mixing white foam in a mug, which he applied with a brush to my neck and above my ears. He began to scrape the foam. He applied some cream to my hair and combed my hair on my side. Then he turned me back to the mirror. When I saw the mirror in amazement, I opened my mouth. I had about 2 inches long hair on the top of my head and 1 and 1/2 inch white arches of skin around my ears. My hairstyle was the same as the boys before me. I got up from my chair and sat down on a waiting chair. A boy waiting for a haircut sat in a vacant spot next to me and started asking me where I was from. He later told me that in Matthews's barber shop, all the boys would get the same haircut only if they asked for even shorter hair. Almost all the boys who come here are children of soldiers. Soon the barber asked him to sit in a chair. Even his barber turned away from the mirror so that the boys would not be distracted. Uncle Fred came in. He grabbed my head in my hands and started twirling it and checking my hair. Then he thanked the barber for my new flawless hairstyle and told him: In 2 weeks I will send the boy to you again for a haircut. I looked at the boy in the barber's chair. He already had hairless arches over his ears and a few inches from his neck.
Time passed and the white spots of clear skin on his head were replaced by about 1/4 inch long hair. One morning Uncle Fred gave me money and sent me to the barber. That's when I realized that it's been 2 weeks since I came for the holidays. During the holidays, I received a regular haircut, and Uncle Fred scheduled activities for me every day from morning till night.
When I traveled back home at the end of the holiday with my freshly trimmed head, I realized that it was not the holiday I wanted but military training.