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Shaving Like Crazy
By Darcy Lee Malone

(Page 3 of 4)

I look over at my dad.  He doesnít weigh two hundred and seventy pounds any more.  At best I would guess he is now a hundred and twenty pounds lighter than that. His hair hasnít grown back all the way since his chemotherapy, but he can at least comb it now, with that same little black comb he has had for years.  I love that comb.  Itís silly, I know, but I really do.  I remember him combing his hair with that comb when he got ready for work or when he had just woken up from a nap.

He looks at me.  His eyes are still that beautiful mossy green color, but something is missing.  I canít explain it.  Vacant doesnít really do justice to what is missing.  It is so much more than vacant; itís weariness and confusion and sadness and yet, still a piece of my old dad is in there.

He reaches over to the end table, still watching me.  I feel mesmerized, as though I am supposed to be watching him at this moment, as though I have no choice.  He picks up the clicker, but he doesnít change the channel or lower the volume.

He starts to shave with it. In long, stroking motions, from one side of his face, under his chin and around to the other side.  He is still watching me.  He is still shaving.  He is rubbing his face with his other hand, checking for the smooth skin left in the wake of his razor.  And he doesnít know.  He canít feel what is not happening to him.

I look away because I can feel it bubbling up in my throat.  Not tears or anger but laughter.  Laughter.  I really donít want to laugh, but the absurdity makes me giddy; and when I look at my sister itís useless to try to reign it in.  She has seen it too, and so has Jeanie and suddenly we are laughing.  Hard, with tears running down our faces.  My dad still doesnít know but he stops shaving and puts the clicker down. 

ďWhat?Ē he asks.  ďWhatís so funny?" I stop laughing because suddenly it feels more like sobs, and if I start crying now I know I will never stop.

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