Monday, October 03, 2005


Last week I got a haircut down the street. It was just your regular run of the mill barbershop complete with a rotating red and white poll. I wasn't expecting much, just the standard trim. No one was in the shop except for a solitary barber and a small color TV. I sat down for my haircut and we talked a bit about the city and how it's been going through a revitalization, he would speak a few words to me in Spanish and I would answer in English. He keyed in on this and asked about my background and we started talking about our families. He told me about his thirty four year old son who had died four day's prior after a four-year battle with cancer. I was speechless. The only thing I could do was to ask what his son's name was. He told me, and then showed me a picture. His son was not much older than I, and bared an uncanny resemblance to a friend back home. He shared the details of his son's life and how he's been trying to cope with the loss. I could see the pain in his eyes, hear it in his voice and feel it in my heart. The haircut was finnished, but I stayed and listened. The helplessness was almost unbearable. I searched my soul for something to say but found nothing. The more he spoke the more I could feel the rawness of his grief. He tried to maintain his composure and I pretended not to notice the tears. It ended in silence with an exchange of money. I shook his hand and gave him a hug in an attempt to close what I had opened. Trying to maintain my own composure I walked home.

No comments: