If you'd asked me, I would've guessed he was in his late twenties, 27, I would have said, or 26. I would've told you he was lively and full of spirit and had a little edge to him. And he really knew how to cut hair. I would've told you he had a big career ahead of him.

I was calling to make an appointment, I needed a haircut, it was the middle of the day and I was busy. I checked my email as I waited for the receptionist to answer, "I need a hair cut," I said, "I need Dan to cut my hair."


I waited. "Something's happened," I heard, it was the whispered voice of the receptionist, her voice cracked, "Dan's been murderered."

We searched the newspaper for days. There was a notice the first day, an announcement on the radio, and then nothing. I got what little news I could get from Dan's colleagues at the shop, but the details were sketchy. A night out in a restaurant he hung out at across the street from the salon. Last call at a gay bar down the street and then a hookup with a man in another part of the city.

I grew frantic with the lack of news. I contacted a well known columnist for the largest paper in town, what's happening, why is this being ignored, where are the articles. Could the death of a young gay man, a night out with a hookup, is that just a footnote, is that not worth the media's attention, not worth the efforts of the police. The columnist did a little digging for me, got back to me, its not being ignored, its just difficult, there's no smoking gun here, its not clear what's taken place. Its muddy, we can't say what happened.

We wondered about a gay killer, cruising the bars, we wondered about a hookup gone terribly wrong, we wondered whether anyone cared.

Dan was only twenty. That really surprised me. But it explained a lot. It explained to me the relationship we had constructed, the young man cutting the older man's hair, his stories of partying with friends, one love here and another one gone, and it explained to me the way I felt listening to Dan, listening to him and offering a little advice. He told me about breaking up with a guy, whoa, Dan, I said, maybe there's another way to do it next time, and he told me about his new apartment in a neighborhood I wasn't comfortable with. I ride my bike back, he told me, I'm okay because I'm on my bike.

Dan was only twenty. I would've said he was 25, maybe, but he was really the age of one of my sons. A kid. And I worried a little about him. And I liked him a lot. And I always did what he told me to do with my hair.

"My haircutter was murdered," I told people. Yeah, Dan, that guy. It was a strange thing to say. And I'm reading the accounts of the investigation, so many months later, and I'm waiting for the trial, and I'm thinking about his family and his friends at the salon. I had no idea he was only twenty.

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lisa said...

Thanks for writing about Dan. We are following the trial very closely.

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