He decided to grow a moustache because he knew she loved them. He nurtured it carefully, at first trimming it himself. Then, when she made what he took to be a disparaging remark about stray hairs tickling her lips when they kissed, he started going to the Grooming Club, a barber’s with the traditional red, white and blue rotating pole mounted above the shop façade.
Before long he had grown a handlebar moustache, and he took to twirling the waxed ends of it to make her laugh. Then she would drag him to bed because she found his sense of humour sexy, but all he was doing was trying to hide his desperate awkwardness. She was a strict lover, requiring the rest of his body to be hairless, so he was as smooth as a Sphinx cat except for the fast-disappearing hair on his head – and his moustache.
One day, she stopped answering his calls. He decided not to contact her. There was nothing left between them except silence, and the moustache.
He had been forsaken for a man with a beard. He knew it. A man with not just a moustache, but also a beard so full that it obscured his mouth save for a glimpse of his lips, a beard that reached far down to his chest. She had been longing for one of those, and he knew that he couldn’t grow one.
He wanted to rip the moustache off his face as if it was a plaster, but he decided to wait, just in case.
Six months passed.
He shaved off the moustache with love and care, and felt light. He allowed his body hair to grow, and became his hirsute self again.
Sonia Hope is a Jerwood/Arvon Mentee (Fiction) 2019/20. Her stories have appeared in Ambit, The Nottingham Review, Flight Journal and Flash Flood. She is an Art Librarian and lives in London, UK. Website: soniahope.co.uk | Twitter: @soniamhope