Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coincidence

After confirming her work shift
two days ago, I arrived at the walk-in
salon to get my hair cut and low-lighted.
She wasn't there. Frustrated, I stormed
back through the mall, with angry tears
brimming, to try a different beauty shop.
Two hour wait. No deal.
I charged off to yet a third establishment that I
had never patronized, only to discover a young
woman very willing to listen to my style and
color woes and accommodate me.
As her fingers flew through my hair, the
synchronicity commenced. She had grown
up in my home town but literally hadn't been
back there since the day
she had graduated five years before.
We swapped names and families and friends and
jobs and discovered overlap in my husband and
a few other friends and former teachers.
I began to realize I would likely have known
her during her middle school years when I
taught there, but couldn't quite place her.
My daughter took my place in the chair and
she and the stylist swapped more bios and mutual
acquaintances, cheerfully complaining about the
quirks and staffing of the local high school.
When my husband took his turn in the barrel,
listening to her tersely reveal her parents'
names with very little detail, the connection
suddenly became clear to us, though not to her.
The uniquely private circumstances of our married life
were parallel and nearly identical to the
ones in her mother's life that this pretty girl had loathed and
run from and, she thought, put irretrievably behind her. We did
indeed know her and her parents, but quietly chose to not
clarify that aloud, respecting her familiar pain.
We paid and tipped her well, to her delight, and resumed
our retail therapy activities, wondering at the
chance and circumstance that had brought us to
briefly overlap her life, knowing well that the circle was
not yet complete.

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