Concerning contentment and women…


If you’re in London, and are male, may i perhaps recommend a visit to Taylor’s of Jermyn street.

Taylor’s is a gentlemen’s grooming establishment; purveyor’s of fine lotions and brushes.

To the rear there is a small barber shop, tastefully lit and finely fragranced; the kind of smell that brings a sense of safety and memories of childhood, and gently buffs the edges of discomfort.  Classical music is just audible above the hushed conversations of barbers and clientelle.

I had gone there for a shave upon the recommendation of a friend.

The gentleman who began massaging oil into my face asked, with a light Italian accent

“How are you today sir?”.

His name was Carlo and i told him that i was doing ok and returned the question

“I’m a not a bad” he replied “can’t a compline you know?”

“ah come on Carlo, i’m sure you can find something to complain about”

i said,

with a tone which i hoped implied that i was a nice guy; one of the good ones; a touch above the herd but not so far that i couldn’t still smell the dust it kicked up, nor how it yearned for the freedom and solitude of the field just beyond the fence, unencumbered by the concerns of money, health; the illusion of contentment and women.

“Well, i could a compline you know, but who would a listen?”

“me my friend” i said.

Carlo had arrived in England at the age of eighteen hoping to kick up a storm, as young men often do. He had met and married an Irish girl and they had been together for forty-two years.  The barber shop he owned for twenty-seven years had been forced to close due to the demolition of the building.  His search for alternate premises had proven unsuccessful and the cheapest lease he could find was £50,000 per year with a further £50,000 required to “do it up a right”.  Having accepted that the dream was over, he had come to work part-time at Taylor’s and had never visited Jermyn street prior to being interviewed.

It wasn’t somewhere that someone in his position would ever find reason to visit.

As he spoke, he continued with his work; foaming and, working the blade with confidence.  His hands held my face firmly; stretching the skin like putty.  As he worked on me, i watched the concentration in his eyes and felt the breath from his nose on my forehead.

After the initial conversational flurry concerning his life, he occasionally spoke, but was mostly silent.

I admired Carlo’s courage, first in leaving Sicily as a young man to take on the world, but more importantly, upon discovering how the world worked, his ability to adapt, yet remain upstanding.

I wished this man were my father.

My father collapsed thirty-five years ago when my mother left him for alcohol and another man.  He has not had the ability to soothe either himself nor anyone else since.

I walked away from Taylor’s with a smooth

face and a lighter

wallet;

and

my soul too,

was not

overly

ruffled

either.

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6 Responses to “Concerning contentment and women…”

  1. If that little more involves knowing that others love you? Rest easy.

  2. K, you and Keith are really beginning to bug the sh!t out of me… wish I had a enth of the time or talent.. Keep it up I love reading your stuff!

    • Many thanks Ranae…really…thank you…i really don’t have the time, which is why my blogs are infrequent..but would love for you to start writing something…please…tell me about yourself..with love…Drummerboy xxxxx

  3. Keith Johnston Says:

    love it, once again I am taken there and left satisfied with thoughts

  4. manchesterfatgirl Says:

    “with a tone which i hoped implied that i was a nice guy; one of the good ones; a touch above the herd but not so far that i couldn’t still smell the dust it kicked up”
    You really are an excellent writer. I also relate to the yearning for random strangers to be a parental figure (although in my case its pining for a mother figure-usually buxom women with bawdy laughs). I look forward to your next piece xxx

  5. “I admired Carlo’s courage, first in leaving Sicily as a young man to take on the world, but more importantly, upon discovering how the world worked, his ability to adapt yet remain upstanding.

    I wished this man were my father.”

    Beautiful, Tim. Really enjoying this. Thank you.

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