Drab vinyl tile meets sterile white walls with a kiss under pale fluorescence. Studying the flecks of brown that break the ocean of white, where my hard blue plastic chair rests, my mind devised hidden pictures in time with the metronome beeping of the heart monitors. Legs numb from waiting and lost circulation, much like the hands of the clock that move slow and without feeling. Time crawls across the floor and back again between seconds, begging and answer to all the questions in my head.
One day I will teach the boys to shave, not today. If they started shaving now that's another decade of tediousness. Can't wait too long though, Barry taught me that in the forth grade. Taking matters, and a razor, in his own hands, he lathered his head and was left without eyebrows, for months. Painted on caterpillars only reminded him of the lagging delay, with each passing mirror.
Wait too long and the answers have already cemented themselves in place, old gum stuck to the bottom of desk, left by well meaning friends. Or exploded in their faces, like gasoline in a pop bottle and a t-shirt fuse, through experimentation. Better they figure it out on their own, tongue in the cheeks of our responsibility evading minds. Institutionalizing them, our saving grace comes in the form of the gym teacher in a trailer scratching Cincinnati Been -gals in white across the green dusty board, a fine education in the fairer sex.
Incompetency, like so many layers of paint, to cover incompetency. To be a man, you must first be a boy. You learn, you play, you question. Never a stupid question, only answers of my own stupidity along the journey to manhood. Do as I do, not as I did. Say "I love you" and mean it. Cry as you need, as we talk it through. Smell the flowers, preferably before you rip them out by their roots. Keep the flames low, cook the steak all the way through, leaving it pink and tender inside. Rinse the blade between strokes, to keep the shave close. If it cuts, we can always repair.
One day you will be a man, for now enjoy the waiting.