1. of or relating to a barber or barbering: the tonsorial shop.


Boxes were strewn everywhere. Dust floated through the air, thick like pollen in mid-spring, highlighted by shafts of light from the window/Shafts of light from the window highlighted the dust floating through the air, thick like pollen in early spring. An extensive collection of Time Magazine lined several rows of the bookcase in the corner. The other shelves were brimming with books, fat and thin, big and small. Grandpa D was an avid reader. He was better at reading than being a family man.

Gerard was grateful the love of reading was one of two things passed down from his grandpa to his dad and to himself. He shook his head, rubbing the tips of his fingers over the spines of magazines, wondering if they went back to the first issue in 1923.

A small wooden box caught Gerard’s eye. He picked it up and sequestered himself behind Grandpa D’s desk in the opposite corner of the study.

He pulled the box of tonsorial tools onto his lap. The aroma of Grandpa D’s favorite aftershave filled the air. Pinauld-Clubman was what he used for all of his customers. He had stood by it throughout the years, bypassing English Leather, Stetson, and even Old Spice for the brand that had worked for his own father and grandfather’s–both barbers.

Gerard smiled thinking of Grandpa D’s stubbornness. Tears stung his eyes.

“You stubborn old man,” he said to the empty house.

He had readily agreed to help his dad pack Grandpa D’s belongings, but he was realizing this was going to be harder than he originally thought.

No one was surprised by the old man’s death. He had smoked for ages, even after those closest to him advised him to quit. Gerard remembered the phone calls between his dad and Grandpa D. They were as rare as they were strained, but they always included dad’s advice to quit smoking and his offer to buy every cessation device available if Grandpa D would quit. It never happened.

After being diagnosed with emphysema two years ago and four months in hospice care, Grandpa D finally let go.

Tears welled up in Gerard’s eyes as he remembered the clean-shaven, jovial grandfather who was always a gentleman.


His dad was back with lunch.

“Gerard E. Durban III, please tell me you haven’t crawled into some black hole…”

His dad came into the office and surveyed the room, nostalgia pulling him into the past. Gerard could tell memories were dancing before his dad’s eyes. He wondered what decade his dad was remembering.

“You miss him,” his dad asked abruptly, back in the present.

Gerard dried his eyes on his sleeve. “Yeah… you.”

“Yeah, of course, he–,” his dad’s voice broke as he fought for composure. “He was far from a perfect father, but he was mine… He was a decent man, honest as they come… I’m just glad he passed along the best of who he was to you and that you appreciated him.”

His dad cleared his throat.

“I am glad he was a better grandfather than I ever expected,” his father said with a dry laugh.

“Here,” Gerard said, handing his dad a photo from his back pocket. “I meant to give this to you earlier; you can put it in your office, next to your pie charts. I made another copy for myself.”

His father smiled at the photo. It was strange seeing three generations of Durban men together smiling and his dad gaunt and weak, so different than how he thought of him.

“It’s the last photo we had the nurse take of us when we visited him at Matthew Richardson,” Gerard said.

His father smiled mischievously.

“Mm-hmm, I remember because even Pop noticed you liked the nurse.”

“She was nice,” Gerard said, looking away as heat filled his face. “Come on and let’s have some lunch.”

“You know, someone’s gotta go to M.R. and get Pop’s stuff and I’m totally happy to give you the opportunity to get out of this house and run that errand for me,” he said pulling his son into an embrace.

Gerard smirked.

“One thing at a time, dad,” Gerard said, with a laugh.


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