Man of the House

Man of the House

Man of the House 1920 1536 Kelcee Sykes

Later, I will tell a different story. Around a lunch table I will tell wide-eyed friends that I snatched my sister’s baby-pink razor out of her shower caddy, covered my face in a Santa Claus caricature of foam, and went in blind. I will savor sympathetic cringes when clumsy plastic in clumsy hands catches on the skin of my chin, or my cheek, or just shy of my jugular. I will pantomime clasping hands to face or throat and staggering from the bathroom, dripping red down my fingers onto the floor, fighting for consciousness as my mother performs meatball surgery at the kitchen table.

But this story must wait. Now, I stand before the sink, shirtless and scrawny. In my hand is a straight razor. It bears the initials of my father, and his father before him. It came to me in a package with his dog tags and school pictures of my sister and me that he liked to use as bookmarks.

I unfold the razor like a switchblade. I raise it to my throat. My hands do not shake.

Header photograph © Roger Slatten.

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