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The Foothill Script

Foothill College's Student News Publication

The Foothill Script

Foothill College's Student News Publication

The Foothill Script

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Strands of You: A Creative Writing Installment

Strands of You: A Creative Writing Installment
Masterfile (Royalty-Free Div.)

My father has the fullest face of hair out of anyone I’ve ever seen. He picks me up onto his shoulders, and my hands grasp at his face instead of his head. My mother scolds me, but he laughs deep from his belly. He is a man, and I am a boy. With every jostle my grip tightens, with every excitement I pull harder, and with every anxiety I ball my fists. By the time he puts me down, my hands are bare and his face still scruffy with inches upon inches of beard. 

He is still a man, and I am still a boy. My mother says I am too big to ride on his shoulders now, but I remain fascinated with his beard. He takes particular pride in the hair resting above his lip. My mother calls it a mustache, but my father deems it a wonder. He preens over it incessantly, the curling of its ends only matched by the curve of his smile. I follow his movements, twirling non-existent hairs between tiny fingers. My mother sees it and rolls her eyes. My father sees it and I wonder if it is pride in his eyes.

He is still a man, but I am no longer a boy. Trapped in the in-between, clumsy with every step and wiry in every limb. Hair begins to grow from my face, but it is a pale imitation compared to him. It is patchy and short. Every strand uneven. One half of my face grows longer than the other, yet the other is thicker and fuller. I tear it off. I shave every morning, afternoon, and night. I’m often red and angry. He struggles to connect with me, and sometimes his temper boils over. It’s in these moments that I miss her the most. 

He is still a man, and I am on the cusp. Though his steps are as firm as ever, I begin to notice a hesitance that had never been there. The barest of pauses before the placement of a foot. A hand on his stomach when he thinks I am not looking. The way he arches against a wall, face in a contortion of pain as he runs his hands over his face. He tugs on his beard as he covers his eyes. I wonder if it is my memory that comforts him. He has always been the type to suffer in silence. I take after him more than I realize.

He is still a man, and I have joined him. As my voice grows deeper, his becomes soft. He disappears at odd hours, and returns wearier and wearier. The top of his head is bare, and for that he shed no tears. I still keep my face clean, but he holds on to what is left desperately. Once I thought of all those strands of hair as little threads leading to different parts of him. They were taut and dark, and exuded a youth I had always been able to see. They were rigid, retaining the shape he loves even against the harshest of winds and the tightest of grips. Now, most are pale and wiry, jutting from his cheeks as they twist into gnarled shapes with the slightest touch. The rest lie on the bathroom floor, some at the base of the sink and others clogging the shower drain. A tug, and they are easily unraveled by even his frail grip. For each ghostly strand that falls a dozen black roots follow close behind. Pieces of him gone, growing day by day. I wonder how much is left.

I am still a man, and he is gone. I bury him next to my mother. I don’t know if either would have wanted that, but I cannot think of any other place. I nod and smile through the condolences and well wishes. Friends, family, co-workers, and more. I don’t recognize most of them. I return to an empty house. It is full of trinkets and objects with many uses, but none of them for me. What need did I have for a loveseat? Bags of bean and grain fill the cupboards, but coffee has always tasted bitter to me. I move to the place he had spent most of his time in the final days. Countless combs, oils, clippers, and trimmers decorate his bathroom. I look in the reflection of the mirror, blinking in confusion. Wisps of hair decorate my face, and the top of my lip in particular seems full and thick. I wonder when the last time I shaved was. When the last time I had a chance to shave was. 

My hand drifts towards the trimmer. 

It settles on the oil.

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About the Contributor
Alexander Martinez, Lead Copy Editor
Alexander Martinez is a second-year Computer Science Major at Foothill College. He has a passion for creative writing and hopes to gain experience in his hobby by contributing to the Foothill Script. Alexander is always there whenever you need help, and brings a positive attitude every meeting.

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