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Peace Of Mind (standard:non fiction, 2236 words)
Author: Paul DuncanAdded: Nov 01 2001Views/Reads: 3348/2629Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
On an afternoon in a city a long way from the place of home, Peace Of Mind comes round.

PEACE OF MIND by Paul Duncan 

Peace Of Mind is something that comes to you without warning fanfare
hello, or goodbye when it leaves and does not tell you when, if at all, 
it will occupy your space again. I have come upon it more than once but 
it is that once in particular that I want to put down here where at 
least the outline of it's reflection will be held in one place.  It was 
found on a day, one street over from the main road in a city I had 
never heard the name of until that morning. 

Peace Of Mind I came upon sitting in a straight-backed chair worn smooth
on the seat from all the people I would never see having paused there 
and then left, leaving it empty on the quiet street with the echoes of 
the busy one beside it rumbling and piercing off of the crumbing 
buildings that surrounded.  Empty chair placed facing an old red-brick 
wall on which was hung a mirror over an old wooden desk with a razor of 
the electric and a razor of the straight. 

There seemed to me to be more than just a little bit of appeal in this
chair sitting in the slanting swaying light filtering down through the 
trees I could not name in a city of the same.  To it's right was a low 
table where Friday Afternoon sat and bought rounds of beer for the four 
or was it five men who spoke of things I knew in a tongue I did not 
because in the end it really is just same same.  I had nowhere to be 
and since I had already searched long and hard for that place I decided 
without debate to get a haircut I didn't really need and a shave which 
I definitely did. 

I crossed the road stepping over and around the potholes, stepped up
onto the sidewalk and in the direction of the peace-of-mind which I 
could not yet see.  Watching the men drinking out of sweating glasses 
that glistened in the light that came and went following the pattern of 
everything else.  The men drinking with Friday Afternoon who sat 
breathing a sigh of release.  Watching them as I walked up in all my 
difference to see who the owner of the worn chair would be.  That they 
were all smiles but none a barber was quickly evident and I looked into 
the up and down of the street not sure whether to move on in my scruff 
or wait it out in the moving shade beside the old red brick.  One of 
the smiling men understood why I paused in my going and made it clear 
without words that I would wait there and he would go get the owner of 
the two razors, both the straight and the electric.  Before yes or no 
had time to drop out in a language that would be more there than here, 
he was gone shouting over his shoulder not to let Friday Afternoon go 
anywhere don't touch that dial and he's off running through the warm 
air.  Not quickly walking or jogging, he has his chest out and knees up 
arms-pumping as his partners-in-crime laugh with much 

Another man with another smile gets up and motions me to sit where all
the others who I have never seen have already.  And I do, sit and look 
at the hole in the red brick wall through which stares back someone 
with a very similar look about him to myself, except that he has tired 
eyes and is in need of a shave.  I look away, back and over my 
shoulder, off-the-cuff I see a girl standing there with eyes that must 
have been passed onto her from older generations as they are much too 
old for her face of young.  She stands there watching the man in the 
wall and when I turn around she continues to watch my self as I notice 
her gaze in all its antiquity until I grin and her face is brought back 
to five-years-old as she smiles wide without holding anything back just 
like everyone else on that corner.  I take my discman out of my 
daypack, motion her over and put the large headphones on her perfectly 
small ears.  As the motorcycles the next street over honk frantically 
and the on buildings on this one crumble quietly, she smiles and shines 
on you crazy diamond as Pink Floyd does what he does and the group of 
men to my right laugh at the amusement that has crossed their paths. 

Then he is there, shaking my hand solemnly his eyes sizing up the
situation of the hair on the back of my head and face from behind 
thickblack rimmed glasses that dominate his thin serious face.  He is a 
professional and, as I would soon discover, an artist, as he takes my 
daypack and puts it on a seat all its own that rests in the shadows of 
the wall.  I speak with my hands explaining just a little off the back 
and sides, the top is fine, shave everything as he nods and a trace of 
a smile appears on his face as he picks up the white electric razor and 
a black comb. 

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