The pilot informs the passengers on board that they will be landing shortly.  Some passengers fidget, others talk, and one man is as still as his one single thought. The thought that has been on his internal movie screen the entire flight; most of his entire life.  Careful not to look at anyone directly except airport security, he heads out of the airport and into the street full of traffic.  Bearded, tired, but smartly dressed for the weather, he hails a cab. He carefully tucks his face back into his black pea coat; his mouth and lips escaping the frigid cold hair.  “Where to?” the cab driver asks. “Duke of Aberdeen. Wait outside, I’ll be less than 5 minutes” as he hands the cab driver an early tip. “Yes sir” as he continues driving. The man, settled in the backseat, looks out the cab window in deep thought. It’s night, it’s cold, but the city lights make it white hot. The cab driver tries to pursue a friendly conversation by asking “Business or Pleasure?” to which the man replies “Business. It’s always business”. The cab driver smiles and turns the dial on the radio to play music. “Can you not?” the man sternly speaks out. The cab driver, noticing the intent behind the eyes glaring back at him through the rear view mirror, turns the knob the other way quickly while gulping. His Adam’s apple looking as though it was about to be swallowed.

They park in front of the establishment, and the cab driver turns the meter off.  As the man walks in, he is greeted by one of the workers in the store. Hair proper, blonde, and a properly maintained mustache.  It’s a men’s shave shop. The merchant says “You look like you’re in the right place” as he stands up and walks past axes and various animal heads on the wall towards his merchandise. The man replies “Sheffield Silver Steel. Straight” The salesman replies “Loup et Belier?” The man responds with a mere nod. He displays the straight razor on the glass counter top over a beautiful burgundy cloth. “Shall we wrap it?” the store owner asks. “No need. How much?” the man asks. “250”. The man hands the salesman cash, and walks out the door. No receipt needed, this is a business expense that won’t be submitted. No need for the sharpener either, it’s only going to be used once. As the man climbs back into the cab, the driver shuffles away his newspaper. “Corner of 7th and Main. Take me there. Straight, no scenic route.”

They arrive in front of a quiet pub. It’s expertly named The Owl and the Moon. The man pays for the fair and shuts the door. The cab driver opens the window and says “You sure you don’t need a lift anywhere else? It’s pretty cold”. Clearly hoping to receive more gracious tips. “I’ll walk” the man replies while thinking to himself anonymity in a new city is priceless.

He walks in to the pub, sits down beside an older gentleman with white hair.  The barkeep asks the older man if he wants another. The man, startling the bartender, says “Yes, he’ll have another.”  While looking straight at the tele, the old man says “You may want to hide what you’re packing a bit better than that Mister.” The man tucks the razor further into his coat. The barkeep asks hims what he would like. “Glen Grant single. Straight.”. The first sip coats his inner throat with a smooth sensation. A gloss comes over the man’s eyes, as he too glances at the tele with the old man next to him. After a minute or two, the old man speaks up “Remember, there’s no going back. You’re all in, and there’s no easy way of getting out. You sure you wanna do this?” The man, still wearing his pea coat, and sipping graciously on his whiskey, responds “Where is she?” The old man turns to the man and whispers his answer. He takes a last sip of his scotch, slams the glass down and pays for both his and the old man’s tab. He walks out the door, looks both ways, and heads off walking intently, steady, straight.

He arrives in front of a complex, 4 storeys. It’s an even blacker night where he is now, and no ones around. He sees a fire escape on the side of the building and proceeds to climb. The darkness, and his black jacket make it nearly impossible to spot him. He gets to the top, and slowly props up the window once he sees he’s in the clear. Small light on in the kitchen. Quietly, crawling in, sliding the window shut. He tip toes across the floor towards the kitchen. A woman, in a long t-shirt, no pants on, is using a can opener to open cat food for her eagerly awaiting white cat. The man approaches her from behind, clenching something in his pocket. The woman kneels down to pick her cat up, and it begins to prrr as she stands back up. She’s all woman, just as he’s remembered her. Gorgeous long hair, and big beautiful eyes. She still had those legs, and he loved looking at them because it took so long to get to the top. With her back still turned, says “What took you so long?” startling the man.  She turns around, petting her cat. The man responds “You’re the one who left, and I’ve been looking for you ever since. And you ask what took me so long?”  Anger takes over his face. She’s unrattled. Unphased. Uncompromising. “I wasn’t hiding, I just wasn’t ready to see you” she whimpers. “And now? he asks. How do you feel now, seeing me, live and in the flesh, after this long? Give it to me straight.” “I don’t know” she replies. “I don’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to think back then either. I was so young.”

“I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to find you. You’re perfect, you’re painful” he says. She looks at him with those sexy eyes that makes his rugged beard melt. She moves towards a room and puts the cat away and shuts the door. The cat paws and claws at the door. She walks back slowly, sexily towards him. Tilting her head, smiling, and taking a small candy from a bowl. She passes a microwave clock that reads 1:43. “I still think you’re beautiful. Just how I’ve pictured you” he says. She responds “You doo?” as she smiles and continues walking towards him, sucking on a heart candy and puckering those sultry lips. She’s a slave for attention, and he’s a sucker for giving it. She walks closer to him until she’s almost propped up on him. His hands and fingers move onto her face, stopping at her dimples. His eyes shut, soaking in the senses of what’s felt like a lifetime of emotion, because it has been. He’s dreamed of the moment he could do that to her face. Her eyes shift, he grabs her tightly and turns her around. She moans and smiles with her eyes closed and hands reaching for his face behind her. He slides his hands in his pocket, and takes out his the straight razor and opens it with one hand. He slowly slides the blade along her leg being careful not to cut her. The cold steel blade touches her skin, immediately giving her goosebumps as she gasps. He continues to slide the fresh metal up her leg, calf, thigh, moving upwards. Lifting the long tshirt up just get a little glimpse. He lowers and the shirt fall over her ass again. He moves to her arm and does the same. The history of their pain has turned them both into masochists. He’s struggling to contain his emotions. Conflicting anger, sadness, attraction, happiness, everything wrapped in one. Confused and confusing. He takes the blade to her neck and pulls it up to her throat, being ever so careful. Is this how it’s supposed to be he wonders. She swivels her body like she’s dancing at a club. She always was a good dancer. She turns around with the straight blade still fully pressed against her neck. Smiling, always smiling. Tears begin to form in his eyes. “After all this, don’t you have anything to say?” he asks, as a single tear starts to roll off his eye, down the side of his nose. Mouth quivering. Her hands hold his tired and rough face, as her own face turns noticeably more serious. She starts to understand the gravity of the situation, the magnitude of how he feels.  She senses her fear come over her, as the sharpest of blades threatens to open her. Scared straight. He closes his eyes,  tightening his grip on the blade, and clenching his hands on the handle. He fiercely whispers “One last cut…”. She smiles as soon as she hears the words. She lowers the blade with her hand guiding it downward. His eyes still shut, she begins walking him backwards slowly, until he ends up shuffling back into a chair and sitting down. He feels exhausted and relieved; the blade now safely in her hands. She drapes him in a cover with a button that snaps around his neck, and jumps on him almost violently. She hold the blade to his neck now, and directs another sharp object right over his eye. It’s a pair of scissors, pointed over his pupil. She moves her head closer. Piloting her lips almost to his, so close, almost touching. She opens the pair of scissors, and whispers back “One last cut.”