At 2:00am I had to go to the bathroom so I got out of bed. The bathroom light was already on and standing inside was my brother, casting a dreary brown gaze into the mirror, razorblade in hand, slicing off chunks of long bristly hairs from under his chin. Earlier in the night, during dinner, Mom and Dad had appraised his unkempt look.
“You’re not helping your chances.” Dad said.
“Why do you keep it?” Mom asked. My brother hadn’t shaved since he moved back in. Striding past him across the hall and down the stairs I could hear the fragile knocking of rain atop the roof and against the windows. Before I stepped into the downstairs bathroom I flicked on the floodlight out back to take a look. It must have been coming down for a while because I could see two small puddles that had pooled themselves in a little depression on the far side of our yard. In their reflections I caught glimpses of the woods that lay past our home. The leaves were gone now. It was getting cold. All there was to see were barren brown branches and ashen tree trunks. Those puddles looked so trapped and dreary all wadded-down in that little depression.
“Don’t worry little puddles, It’s not gunna rain forever. Things’ll dry up.” After I finished in the bathroom I walked back up the stairs and past my brother again. This time he had his beard trimmed down and there was shaving cream over his face and around his lips and he was making short choppy strokes at his cheeks with a disposable razor. I stopped in the doorway for only a moment. I wasn't used to him again. His petrified self-stare: a pillar of salt.
By morning the rain had stopped and as my parents and I were leaving for work we could hear my brother in his bedroom getting ready for his interview.
“Did you shave?” Dad asked.
“Yeah.” My parents smiled at each other.
“Good luck!” Mom wished as she stepped out with Dad. I reached for my keys from the counter and my brother came out of his room. He had cuff-linked his wrists, had a tie wrapped around his neck, and was sporting a terribly fuzzy mustache that crawled over his lip. I gave him a smirk as I grabbed my keys and he lilted his eyebrows at me like he used to do when we were younger, before he moved away. He almost looked happy. I walked out to my car and as I pulled away I wondered if those sad little puddles had any chance to escape, before they froze.