I got my hair cut yesterday, as I do about once a month. Any longer between visits to the barber and two things happen: my hair starts to drive me nuts, and my barber gives me grief for leaving so much hair on his floor.
Actually, I have two barbers. Ralph and Nick have been cutting my hair for seven years, from the time I moved to Yonge & Bloor and even since I moved out of that neighbourhood. I’m not fussy which one of them cuts it, I just sit down at whichever chair is free. Ralph’s English isn’t as good, but he’s probably (as I’ve said before) the most cheerful guy I’ve ever met. Nick’s chattier, and always asks me whether I’ve been back to Nova Scotia recently. He likes his seafood, and marvels at the fact that someone who grew up on the east coast doesn’t like fish. I bring him maple syrup once in a while.
Yesterday I went in, this year’s maple syrup in hand and ready to recount my latest trip to NS. Nick wasn’t there so I sat down in Ralph’s chair and asked where Nick was. Ralph told me quietly that “Well, my friend, sometimes we get good news and sometimes we get bad news. For Nicky,” Ralph said, “it was bad news. He died.”
Dammit. Dammit dammit. Poor Ralphie, he’d probably been telling people all month. I must be one of the last to know; the last time I got my hair cut was just before Nick died. I was sorry I made Ralph explain it again, but sorry most of all because I didn’t get to say goodbye to Nick.
You were a gentleman and an awfully nice guy, Mr. Tunzi. I’ll miss you.