The lack of light was striking—I bore my eyes to the cool air, staring forward into the ceiling. The blackness was oily and flowed into my ears. I sucked in the damp, summery fresh-shower scent as my mom crawled onto my bed. Suddenly her cool and rubbery fingers pricked my kneecap, then pressed down my shin and trailed upwards to my thigh.
“Whoah, so smooth…” her voice tangy and thick like strawberry puree, coolness smoothing down my leg, tracing up the shin. “No hair!” she murmured. Her fingertips slid down, up, down.
I wasn’t there, I was propped one foot on the toilet, surveying the illuminated rusty-tiled space with the tingly deliberateness of dissecting a first-time process. 1) Check Your Razor. Gah, there it is, in my hand I squeeze its body and slide the bright bands of light across its steely blades. Clean, check. Sharp, rust-free, undamaged, affirmative. 2) Hop in the shower. I’d carefully examined the WikiHow and knew its every bolded line and watercolor illustration. I placed my Venus With A Touch Of Olay Sugarberry Shave Gel into the shower space; next to it a pastel yellow cup, into the cup the razor. 3) Have a seat. 4) Apply shaving cream or water-soluble skin cream. 5) Start at the ankle. I was ready for this. I wasn’t there,
I was staring peripherally at the women on supermarket magazines, glowing and oh-so-smooth. “Andrew,” I ordered my little brother as we waited in line, “you know, life’s too short to care about looks.”
“I know, Isabelly.” Me too. I wasn’t boring forward into the pressing darkness between me and the ceiling, I was leaning haphazardly across my dance bag into the wall, fiercely chewing a turkey-provolone sub and brushing bits of lettuce off my leotard. Catreona motioned palms up: “Well, you really don’t want hair sticking out your tights while you dance, like hello, there…” The heads jerked and giggled in emphatic agreement. There, that’s a citable reason for doing it, I decided. Good, I was ready for this.
My mom’s fingers ran up and down my leg, her palm pressed into my shin. “It is so smoo-th! How you did that?” I shrank there in the blackness. Up and down, coolness up and down.
“Teach me how,” she murmured.