Whenever I shave my legs I have two memories hit me in close succession…
Memory #1: When I was 10 or 11 and I asked you if I could start shaving my legs. Lauren Nuss already was, and not only was she my best friend but she had a big sister, so she was the coolest of the cool. I don’t remember why you said I couldn’t, but the answer was no – and that was final. This was one of the rare occasions that I didn’t do what you told me to do (99% of the time I did, if begrudgingly) – I got in the shower that day and saw your razor and thought that I could get away with it without you knowing. Of course I had no idea what I was doing. I just dragged the razor across dry skin. Right on my shin bone. And I feel like I literally shaved a big strip of skin off. Then I started bleeding and screaming and I don’t know what happened next, but I do know that you never said you told me so. And I don’t think I tried to shave again for years.
Memory #2: Once, it was either during a short visit or when I lived with you in 2012, you told me that you would need my help re-shaving your head. You were going through another round of chemo, and your hair was starting to fall out in unseemly patches, so you just wanted it all off again. You sat on the toilet seat with a towel wrapped around your neck, and I lathered up your head and stroke by stroke shaved off the grey, curly patches. I was so afraid I was going to hurt you or cut you, but you kept telling me I was doing fine.
As soon as I think about shaving your head that time, I think about what your hair looked like when you were lying in bed in the ICU on that last day. Your hair had the shape of a man’s when he is balding – it was bald on top, with a half-circle of tough, grey-and-white fuzz from the tops of your ears all down the bottom half of your head to your neck. I hadn’t seen you since January (nearly three months) and you hadn’t had that much hair in years. I rubbed it and told you as much. And you told me you loved me.
Love you lots; miss you more.