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Tilton NH (standard:drama, 1079 words)
Author: HarrisonAdded: May 31 2005Views/Reads: 3100/2079Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is the classic epiphany of growing up. With a barbershop metaphor, the main character realizes that the only things that stay the same are his memories, and no one can take those away.

Tilton NH 

I didn't even realize that it was raining. I suppose I should notice
things like that, but sometimes I look over it. Sometimes, you miss 

That was the first time I've gone to get a haircut on my own. It's a
scary thought isn't it? I thought about how much I would tip the barber 
as soon as I stepped out of the door. Maybe that's weird, I don't know. 
I walked out of the empty parking lot down the sidewalk toward the only 
barber shop I've ever known, scared as hell, that this would be my last 
haircut before I grew up. It was a miserable day, and I was just 
realizing how truly miserable it was. 

The barber tube thing was broken. I don't suppose I know what they're
called, but now I'm getting the urge to look it up or ask somebody. 
It's funny how people want to know everything that they don't know. 
When I was a kid I didn't care, but now I want to know. I guess that 
means I'm not a kid anymore. But I've been sad about losing my 
childhood, sort of a death now that I think about it, for quite some 
time. I've kind of come to terms with it. Steady sadness isn't too bad, 
but it's that sudden change that kills us. You get used to things you 
know? So the tube was broken and I cared. It is a big deal. 

Ding-ding. It was a heavy door. The grain of the wood was fading, and it
looked like it was chopped down in this guy's backyard or something. 
Earl's Barber Shop. Here I was again. 

I've been coming here to get a haircut ever since I was old enough to
have hair. Earl was about 105, a relatively short guy, with glasses and 
a weathered and wise sort of old face. He always looked the same. 

On the wall there was this calendar that said 1953 on the top. I guess
the days of the numbers matched up with today's numbers or something. 
The walls were that fake wood color, that old brown that reminded you 
of old barns and log cabins. The tiles on the floor were sort of this 
dull tan, I guess they must have been white at one point, but not that 
I can remember. There have always been two chairs, but one always had a 
pile of magazines on it from about 20 years ago. The place even smelled 
old, and I felt like I was in the middle of one of those 50's movies 
that I always hated. Of course the oldies station was playing, and 
Nancy Sinatra was singing about some “sugar town” as I walked in and 
sat down next to the only other customer, an 80-year-old man with a tie 
and a button up shirt. I grabbed a magazine. 

Earl looked up at me. I wondered if he'd recognized me. I had gone there
twice a year since forever. When you're old, you tend to forget things 
I guess. I would think he would remember me though, since I'm his only 
recurring customer under 60 years old. Maybe I'm just not worth 

I didn't even read one word of the old magazine. I looked out that big
barbershop window, out at the rain and the gray, out at the people 
hurrying by with their umbrellas and plastic coats. Mice in a maze. 
Teenagers in love and old men waiting to die. I watched every single 
one of them, analyzed every face and wondered at every motion, to the 
point where time didn't even exist. 

Ding-ding. The last customer left and it was Earl and I. I sat in that
chair and resumed my looking. Some things just don't seem to get old. I 
looked out that window without speaking a word for a while, not even 
realizing where I was. 

Across the street there was this old church with plastic over the
windows. Next to the church a building sat rotting, missing bricks from 
the shoulder like a war-veteran. 

The street was new. The dashed line was a brilliant yellow, and the
reflections of the car windows as they flew by hit my eyes and I didn't 
even blink. I didn't even move a muscle. 

Earl spoke. “Everybody out there is in some hurry huh?” 

I laughed. “Yeah I guess so.” I didn't know what else to say. 

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