Scylla the Rock

Scylla the Rock
October 28
Rogue Soldier Bad Cop I always believed in redemption through violence until I became crippled and retired. Now I seek redemption through forgiveness. "...fear, that secret fear that follows every professional to the grave. Namely, that one day, out of a past so complex that he himself could not remember all the enemies he might have made, one of them would find him and demand the reckoning."-LeCarre "Men die and they are not happy"- Camus


Scylla the Rock's Links
OCTOBER 1, 2012 1:38AM

Shave and a Haircut and War

Rate: 22 Flag

Sarah worried.  She departs for a long tour of Afghanistan in a few weeks and frets for Scylla.  Her man appears well and strong now but Sarah, having a long, intimate relationship with depression fears he will suffer depression again whenst she leaves.  He is alone, says he perfers things this way.  Sarah knows that on any given day the number of people Scylla speaks with is often zero.  He spends more time with the dogs or his ghosts then any live person.  Worriesome.

Scylla tries to belay such fears.  To worry about him safely ensconced in the glory of Hawaii while Sarah heads off to combat once again seems a bit wrong to Scylla. So beyond a, "Don't worry I'll be fine" he refuses to discuss the issue with Sarah.

Scylla worried. 12 months maybe 18. Scylla is sure it will be 18 months. Last 12 month tour in Iraq Sarah was shipped home after 7 months due to a fractured hip. So time to make up. The Army might forget to pay you, might forget to promote you but they do not ever forget exactly how many hours you spent in a combat zone.    

Sarah has friends and informants through out Schofield Barracks. They witness Scylla stomping all over post with their two leashed dogs. Talking to himself, to the dogs? Who might say?  Sarah knew that Scylla spoke to their dogs all day long and that sometimes he would forget the world large and talk with his Grandfather and their son out loud. 

So she worries.  In lieu of his mind and where it might lie Sarah speaks to Scylla of small details.  They have both discovered how important these small items can be.  Such as shaving and haircuts... 

Sarah enjoys watching Scylla shave.  It is a singular personal act for one who eschews mirrors and solemnly avoids his own ragged visage.  Each Saturday morning Scylla wakes Sarah with coffee, hers light and sweet with extra chocolate his black and hot to boil.  Sarah sits on their bathroom counter, slight and small with her brown legs drawn up into her chin.  Thusly she watches as her man prepares to scrap away his whiskers.

Scylla squats, reaching under the sink he removes an oiled, yellowed and worn chamois wrapped in the leather of his razor strop.  He turns the hot water faucet on full and unwraps his tools.  A Beavertail brush with a cracked and yellowed grab, a sliver of old soap for lather and a straight razor that is almost one hundred years old with a gleaming white bone handle.  Scylla runs the soap and the brush under the hot, steaming water and in one hand begins to make lather. After brushing his face with lather he runs the blade under hot and then turns the taps to cold and runs the blade back and forth. 

Sarah watches close knowing what leaning over the sink cost Scylla in pain to his back.  Knowing that he passed just this blade to their son months before his death, that this blade has a provenance back to Scylla's Great-Grandfather and the Easter Rebellion.  He would not speak of it so neither would she.  A man wed to such a past should be allowed some strength no matter how foolish...

 Somewhere deep inside herself Sarah liked that each Saturday morning Scylla would dissemble this razor.  She liked that his large, squat fingers would remove the tiny brass screws holding the handle, laying each one on the chamois.  Then he would wipe down the blade and oil the handle with a small tube of oil scavenged from their cars.

 Sarah knew that today she must cut Scylla's hair. Scylla's hair grew fast and thick.  Every two weeks it called for cutting.  If not on the third week she knew Scylla would rise early  and using the lanai light and their family room glass as a mirror he would lower his head as if a penitent in prayer and cut it away.  Only that since he could no longer turn left his cut was always spikey and off centered. 

An appearance Sarah would not countenance.  Was it his career in the military or just preference that he choose to keep it very short? Scylla always proclaimed it sloth and no more.  Short hair required no combing, no primping and nothing more than a bar of soap to clean. Doesn't matter as Sarah has been cutting his hair for almost 17 years.  This August 24th 2012, it would be 17 years official.  Sarah enjoyed cutting his hair, it was an intimate act, one of love; she would run her fingers through his hair, feel each rise and fall, blow the hair off his ears and neck.  Sarah knew from feel each plate screwed to Scylla's skull according to every small rise and also those indents from where his skull plates sunk in after two surgeries.  No Barber but after so long Sarah could use sissors as well as the clippers on Scylla.  He liked it cut to 1/4 of an inch each time and Sarah would oblige yet cut the front a tad longer so that he might sweep it back off his face.

Now with Sarah in Afghanistan Scylla lowers his head as if in prayer and begins to clip away his hair. He grunts and tries to make the left side even with the right. After a few attempts he shrugs and thinks, "Good enough". Really it's terrible and as Scylla lowers his head once again and prays to God for Sarah's safe return.

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Sometimes reading a post is like falling ~ into words, images, feelings from another person, or from other people sometimes familiar, at other times strange or unsettling ...

This post let me fall and caught me. I think it was Sarah who caught me ~ her love that you conjure, and her absence, knowing you'll be there when she returns. I think she's a very fortunate person.
Having old love, familiar in the small and intimate things that make a relationship deep is a gift and a trial. The days together easy and full, the days apart, desperate.
The tone and visuals, the descriptions of the everyday draws us into this man's life, their world. A small slice this reader wishes were just the first chapter.
Commented on this one over at Our Salon R&R.
A man wed to such a past should be allowed some strength no matter how foolish...

A razor from way back. the easter rebellion!
your entire life, my boyo, is like an easter rebellion of a
metaphorical type, i gotta say. resurrection
not into a glorified body, ha, hardly,
but into a ramshackle affair of flesh.

as scyla shaves: "slight and small with her brown legs
drawn up into her chin.
Thusly she watches as her man"

( i have found this to be the most beautiful pose of a gal)
i happen to know of a woman here on the east coast
who loves you. she loves very few men.
she does plausible imitations of your uncanny voice.
her only serious issue with u is:
"i really doubt he is as ugly as he makes himself out to be"
i have no way to corroborate this fine lady's testimony.
i tell her i like to think of scyla as a wretched raised man.
raised back to the world to deliver us such wonderful prose.
Kim said it for me. Beautiful story. Important to know about such love.
An intimate portrait of love at its deepest core. Godspeed, peace and wishes for safety and health. Rated with great admiration and prayers.
Powerful writing....

The details and rituals, created to soothe...may they always work their magic and make the time fly until your hands meet Sarah's again ~
I'll pray too. PS are lucky to have hair, I'm sure that Sarah is happy about that too!
i see you and the wretched 'should be dead' jmac have
found each other. good. it is like what leibniz said,
best of all(os) universes.
Scylla, sending prayers for Sarah's safe return, and that God keeps you both safe in the palm of His hand.
Love at its best; beautifully said, Scylla. My best thoughts and earnest prayers are with you. R
Some wounds never heal totally but the pain gets easier with time, For instance, my little bundle of love who is ten and autistic, has kept me awake all night. Love him much but I am getting ready to lock the little cuccly bugger out of my room. Ha I need sleep, And this too shall pass in regards to your new journey.

Just a little encouragement:

“[Psalm 63] A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 NIV
The Easter Rebellion... my maiden name is Rooney. This has me in between tears and wanting to go wake up my husband? hmm I'll be back in a while. ha ha ;)
Quite an intimate portrait.
If you have nothing, you still have everything that matters. I watched my little girl go off to war, again, it tore my heart out. But there's nothing to describe that feeling when she returned, again.
Such a telling of life and love as they are and as they will ...
I love the words that first were left here ... in response to yours ... for really, they say everything ... even now ... even still ...
Thinking of you, Scylla, having just found your words ... and thinking of your Sarah too ... and of life ... and love ... of falling ... and of being caught ... with ... and by ... love ...
It is January.
I am hoping it's been OS's lack of everything that has kept you away. I know it is what has kept me from reading. I am not a patient woman.
I hope Sarah is well. I hope you are well. I've missed you, friend.
Trying to think of something to say that would do this justice, I let my eyes drift down to Kim Gamble's comment and found myself nodding in agreement and admiration. Kim has said perfectly what I would have like to say. My daughter's name is Sarah, and I started seeing her in this as I read your strong, reflective piece.
OMG hair today gone tomorrow.
........(¯`v´¯) (¯`v´¯)
............... *•.¸.•* ♥⋆★•❥ Thanx (ツ) & ♥ L☼√Ξ ☼ ♥
⋆───★•❥ ☼ .¸¸.•*`*•.♥ (ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★(ˆ◡ˆ) ♥⋯ ❤ ⋯ ★