Barbershop Fridays: A Short Story.

“You Renee’s oldest daughter, ain’t ya?” The old man beside me asks, lowering his voice beneath the loud talking of the other men waiting for haircuts. I look over at him trying to figure out who’s daddy this was talking to me. He looked slightly familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My momma shielded us from the community; we weren’t allowed to hang out at the city parks on Sundays and Wednesdays with everyone else in our hometown, so I didn’t know names like one wouldn’t expect someone from a small town would.

“Yes.” I respond shortly, turning back to my book. I reread the same sentence three times. I can’t concentrate with his creepy eyes staring at me. I should’ve sat on the other side by them bad ass kids tossing the football. I feel him shifting in his seat mustering up the nerve to say something else.

“Yeah, you done got big now. How old you is? You at least bout 18 now, huh?” He asks letting those words dance out of his mouth, those words that could possibly sound innocent to someone not hip. “I’m 22.” I coldly responded, wondering why I didn’t just ignore him. Was it that weird obligation to be respectful to your elders? Was it the boredom of sitting in the barbershop for hours waiting for your turn in line? Hey, did someone skip me?
“Oh yeah, you a real grown woman. Ain’t you.” He smiled, showing me his missing front tooth. Disgusting. He looked me up and down. My skin felt dirty. Who goddamn uncle?

“You know, I let girls like you come round to the house sometimes. Just to come round and then I help’em a lil bit.” He leaned closer to me. I could smell the pig feet on his breath. “What you like? Xan? Molly? Weed?” He asked sweetly. I swallowed down the puke rising in my throat.

These the men the girls in my hometown are tricking off? I think. Pussy is worth more than xan and a $40 phone bill. I shake my head sadly, wishing I could teach a class. “You hear me girl?” I come back to what’s happening, this nasty old man with his small-town proposition. I think of the men in Atlanta giving $1,000 for just a date. The men who didn’t know the names of my momma or my grandma. I turn my entire body away from the man satisfied.
Krissy. That’s Krissy’s grandpa.


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