Rite of Passage

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TexasPoet

When Is It Dark Enough?
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We didn’t have a bathroom sink, so Father let the hot tap of the claw foot bathtub run for a while to fill a white metal basin with a chip in its blue rim. He placed the steaming pan under the medicine cabinet mirror and dipped a wash cloth in the hot water then said as he applied the damp rag to my face, “I know it’s hot, but that will make your whiskers stand up so it’s easier to shave.” He submerged his ivory porcelain mug into the water and filled it about one-fourth of the way, then poured in soap flakes, and worked up a foam with his shaving brush. I smelled his cigarette stained breath as his large fingers touched my thin chin and applied warm cream to my face, looking down his nose and telling me to contort my mouth so he could soap my philtrum. His double-sided razor felt and sounded strange as he pulled it down from my right sideburn to my chin--something pulling away, something being cleaned. “The secret is to press gently enough to not draw blood, but hard enough to cut the stubble.” He had done the same with my two older brothers when it was time of their first shaves, but his hands, more accustomed to carpentry work than barbering, shook a little as he completed his task. This wasn’t the first rite of passage in which he initiated me, there was learning to drive a stick-shift truck, milking a cow, teaching me to thank the slaughtered calf for its life, and the ballet and timing of setting a fishhook, but this was one of intimacy I rarely had with my dad. That was fifty-three years and thousands of shaves ago, but I still hear my father cautioning me on the proper use of pressure as I apply shaving cream to my face this morning.
 
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Laelia

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I noticed there were no replies here, which is a shame because this was a lovely little vignette, and quite moving at the end. I particularly liked the beginning description of the bath and the bowl and hot water - it was a very clear image and you could imagine the feel of the hot water very well, and it also gave an impression of thrift and things being well-used without being too obvious.
 

Hedwig

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Hey Tex!

I love how this started right in the middle of the scene and the wonderful retro vibes in the language. There's something very vulnerable about the story. But again I'm seeing more of a reflection here than a complete story. Did this interaction change the narrator in some way? If so, how? That's what will bring it full circle.
 
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TexasPoet

When Is It Dark Enough?
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I noticed there were no replies here, which is a shame because this was a lovely little vignette, and quite moving at the end. I particularly liked the beginning description of the bath and the bowl and hot water - it was a very clear image and you could imagine the feel of the hot water very well, and it also gave an impression of thrift and things being well-used without being too obvious.
Thank you, Laeila.

It was my first draft...still working on it.
 

TexasPoet

When Is It Dark Enough?
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Hey Tex!

I love how this started right in the middle of the scene and the wonderful retro vibes in the language. There's something very vulnerable about the story. But again I'm seeing more of a reflection here than a complete story. Did this interaction change the narrator in some way? If so, how? That's what will bring it full circle.
Thanks, Hedwig...the subject was changed...he was remembering a solitary close moment, but I get what you are saying....let me see if I can work that into this piece. I appreciate your input.
 

DarkWriter223

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I like this piece, very vulnerable indeed, very entertaining read and the imagery is fine too. I like the theme of the piece letting me know that this is about manhood.
 
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