I can’t remember what it was the first time round, soap lathered with a brush, or foam whipped from a can into meringues; in either case, I stood before myself, smearing it over my face, Dad directing me from the door until my youth was stripped smooth as the cabinet mirror wiped of steam— with careful strokes, first, from the sideburns down to the fold in my chin, then up under the jaw with the scratching sound one makes sandpapering a small carving; then back over the dome of each cheek bone; working inwards to Chaplin’s square; my uncut skin…

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