Sweet readers and writers,
Joining in for the fun of Grammy Dee’s second short story prompt link party. One of the reasons I continue to blog, is to prompt me to write. Just write. Could be a tagline or bumper sticker slogan. Just Write. And link-ups like this one and Laura’s 3 Things posts are encouraging me to do more creative writing.
• Start with the partial sentence below
• Create a short story by adding to the sentence
• Post the story on your blog
• Add your post to our linkup below
• Check out the stories from others, see how they compare to yours
And that’s what I did.
Here’s the prompt for this week’s short story: As I stood in the shower with the warm water running down…
and here’s my story.
I Shaved My Legs for This?
As I stood in the shower with the warm water running down…an idea occurred to me. My parents were out for the evening and my little sister and brother were safely tucked in bed. Mom’s safety razor was just an arm’s reach outside the shower door. Tonight was the night; I would shave my legs for the first time and finally be like all of the rest of the Elmore Park cheerleaders.
I stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in the bath towel I had laid over the edge of the lavatory. Opened the medicine cabinet door and found what I was looking for. The Schick double-edged safety razor, and beside it, the little plastic box of new blades. Dare I try to switch out the used blade in the razor for a shiny new one my first time out of the gate? Attempting to do so seemed like a certain invitation to slice myself open. I opted for using the existing blade. With the razor in hand, I slipped back into the shower and under the warm water.
Shaving Cream or Not?
I had seen my dad shave his face on occasion but had never seen my mom shave her legs. Dad viewed shaving as part of his morning routine but mom saw it as necessary chore. And one she wanted to spare me from for as long as possible. I knew my dad used shaving cream but did mom? Hmmm. I’d noticed a can of Barbasol in the medicine cabinet but felt pretty sure mom didn’t lather up her legs like dad did his face. Decided to forego the shaving cream.
Instead, opted for sudsing my legs with a layer of soap. Then began gliding the razor up my leg very carefully, reaching my knee and wondering if I should be shaving up or down my leg. So reversed the process and slid the razor through the soap and back down to my ankle. Oh, the silky smoothness that laid beneath that soap left in the wake of that safety razor. With several more passes, I began shaving with more confidence.
Too much confidence, in fact. Because the knees, and ankles, and backs of my legs presented a new challenge. Awkward angles and bones to maneuver around.
But I realized that a little too late. Before I knew it, the soap suds were tinged pink. Then a red stream trickled from slightly above my ankle down toward the shower floor. Accompanied by a stinging, burning pain. I had pared away an inch-long swath of skin along the bone above my right ankle.
I rinsed the rest of the soap from my legs, turned off the water and reached for the towel outside the shower door. The slice on my ankle began bleeding worse. I couldn’t take a chance at getting blood on the towel or the bath mat or on anything else but had no idea how to get the bleeding to stop. Then I remembered seeing my father wearing bits of toilet paper on the small shaving nicks on his face. I rolled off several inches of toilet tissue and dabbed my wound. To my horror the bleeding intensified and so did the pain. After rummaging through the medicine cabinet, I came up with a tube of antibiotic ointment which I promptly globbed onto my cut. After a few moments, the bleeding slowed, seeping slightly beneath the salve.
But my ankle really started hurting. With my weight on one foot, I did my best to clean up any sign of my accident, flushed the bloody toilet paper, rinsed out the shower floor, returned the razor to the medicine cabinet and hobbled upstairs to my bedroom. After struggling into my pajamas I realized my cut had begun bleeding more enthusiastically again. I retrieved a roll of toilet paper from the upstairs bathroom and wrapped layers of it around my ankle at the cut then I crawled into bed, careful to leave my right leg out from under the covers.
Just as I was about to drift off to sleep, it hit me. Lockjaw. I remembered that a person can contract tetanus or lockjaw from cuts caused by rusty or contaminated metal objects like nails. Or razor blades? My mom didn’t like to shave and didn’t do it often. Had her razor blade rusted from disuse? Was my tetanus shot up-to-date?
I hopped back downstairs to my father’s study to consult Encyclopedia Britannica. What were the symptoms of tetanus? Headache and muscular stiffness in the jaw (lockjaw) followed by stiffness of the neck, difficulty swallowing, hardening of abdominal muscles, spasms, sweating, and fever. Was my jaw beginning to stiffen? I was definitely sweating and my head was beginning to hurt. I had contracted lockjaw.
Dragged myself back upstairs, carefully climbed back into bed, rewrapped my wound with more toilet paper and laid awake the rest of the night opening and closing my mouth every few seconds to prevent my jaw from locking up permanently. How would I explain this to my parents if I lived through the night? Would I even be able to talk by sunrise? How did one sign ‘lockjaw’? Why, oh why, had I decided to shave my legs? The hair on my legs wasn’t even that dark. And no one ever got close enough to my legs to notice if they were shaved or not, other than a couple of the snobbier cheerleaders.
I did live through the night. Can’t remember if I fessed-up to my parents or not. Maybe since I was still alive and able to talk, I opted not to.
For approximately 50 years now I have continued to shave my legs, whether they need it or not! And almost every time I do, I cut myself around the knees and ankles. But I rest assured that my tetanus shot is always up-to-date. Nothing’s going to lock up this jaw!
Do you remember the first time you shaved your legs? Did your mom or some other adult give you permission or show you how? How old were you? Do you remember seeing your mother shaving her legs? A few months ago, my friend Jodie at Jodie’s Touch of Style wrote a post talking about shaving. It was a great read that you might enjoy, too.
Going to get my Monday underway. Have actually been awake since shortly after 4:00 am, which is 3:00 am the old time. My Prince had to fly out to Washington state today for work. I will be ‘baching’ it for a few days. Hope to get lots of projects done around here.
Thank you for coming by. Be sure to check out the other short stories written for this second prompt. Click here and we can go check them out together.
Happy Monday hugs,