I want a mustache.
I’m old enough now, although I’ve wanted one since childhood when I watched, with adoring eyes, as my daddy shaved.
The scent of menthol. The foam in the cup oozing over the edge.
The brush — bushy like a squirrel’s tail.
The razor. A real one, too. Not one with a curved plastic handle that cost 99 cents.
No, my daddy shaved the way a man shaves — a pearl handle cradled the straight-edge razor that glistened in the 60-watt bathroom light, and when he dipped it in the water, drops, like little diamonds, kissed the razor’s edge.
And then his gentle touch made it glide over his face, a bit tanned and with a few wrinkles starting to crease his skin in the same way a piece of paper was folded and unfolded repeatedly starts to show its creases.
Life had folded and unfolded my dad many times. But he didn’t mind the wrinkles, nor did I.
Real whiskers make a sound when they are cut; they don’t go quietly.
It is their battle cry. Once you hear it, you don’t forget it, and I miss that sound.
But my dream mustache just toys with my upper lip playing “catch me if you can” each time I look in the mirror.
A few strands here, more in the middle and one or two more way over on the other side of my mouth.
The distance between them is so great it would take a Western Union message to reach them all.
The hairs on my chinny-chin-chin are not playing nice with each other either.
They refuse to grow in unison. It is as if they are distant cousins still angry at each other for some forgotten quarrel, so they refuse to sit together at a family reunion. Behave!
In short, my face doesn’t like me. I am befuddled and a tad ticked off since it is the only one I have.
The gauntlet was thrown down since my mid-40s for my mustache to show its “face” to me, but the coward won’t fully accept the dare. It only taunts me.
My mustache should be big and make a bold statement — I bushy and I’m here!
It would be groomed, cleaned, brushed, manicured, pampered and kept cozy and read to nightly.
No harm would come to it, not on my watch. It would be a mustache worthy of any man, and every woman.
So, I wait. I wait to smell menthol again.
To see the clouds of foam ooze over the cup’s lip, and watch drops of water dangle on the razor’s edge.
That razor is still where my daddy left it.
Clean, shiny and tucked in its pouch.
No human hand has touched it since the last day he used it decades ago.
Mustache, I’m ready.
Val Valdez is a Herald correspondent.