What Do You See When You Shave (Upon Sitting Next To A Stranger At The DMV)

If you stand behind me, as I face a mirror, and peer around — apart from your own eyes, the top bit of your head, and maybe an ear or two, you would see broken veins and arteries, shattered intestines, sunken kidneys, burning lungs, and an eroded liver. And if you look hard enough, look close enough, with great determination, you would see a cemetery of bones. No — I’m not trying to be cliché, talking about how a mirror reveals the truth or the soul of the person or anything like that; I’m just saying what you would see. I see it every day as I brush my teeth and shave, or when I clean the sink and countertop, wiping away remnants of a life whose remains are empty Listerine bottles, a hair brush full of fresh bristles, and a half eaten pear.  This is normal for me.  It’s usual. Some may raise their eyebrows when they see this; some may run away praying Hail Marys until their palms are whole again, while others may just nod their head and say, ‘hey, we almost look the same.’  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a ghost, or what, not really, but I drift like one. I’m a silent one too. No moaning and oooooing like you see in a Scooby Doo cartoon, but more like one you would maybe see in an early Charlie Chaplin movie, without captions or anything.  What do you seen when you shave? I’m a 39 year old bed sheet, smelling of stale bread crumbs, potent cough syrup, musky rice cakes, and scentless deodorant.

About Shome Dasgupta

Shome Dasgupta is the author of i am here And You Are Gone (Winner Of The 2010 OW Press Fiction Chapbook Contest), and The Seagull And The Urn (HarperCollins India, 2013) which will be republished by Accent Press as The Sea Singer (2016). His stories and poems have appeared in Puerto Del Sol, New Orleans Review, NANO Fiction, Everyday Genius, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere. His fiction has been selected to appear in The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (&Now Books, 2013). His work has been featured as a storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Story, nominated for The Best Of The Net, and longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50. He lives in Lafayette, LA and his website can be found at www.shomedome.com.