life, thoughts

It Happened at the Beauty Salon

Mara climbed out of her car and blinked up at the powder blue sky. A gorgeous September day. She almost wished she didn’t have to go into the salon to get her hair done.

She shrugged; at least she enjoyed the company of the people there. The old fashioned, independent boutique had their regulars, and everyone knew each other. Even the door clanged with a bell when she entered.

“Hi, Mara.” Her stylist waved as she swept up her station. “I’ll be right with you.”

“No problem.” Mara stood near the checkout counter where a gray-haired woman was paying for services. She looked familiar from behind, and then when she spoke, Mara recognized her cousin. “Hello, Gloria. How are you?”

Gloria pivoted slowly, a scowl on her face, eyes squinted, and then she turned right back around toward the cashier without a word.

“Gloria? What’s the matter?” Deep down Mara knew. She didn’t mean to hurt her cousin’s feelings. She had apologized profusely, and Gloria said she accepted her apology. “You’re not going to talk to me anymore?”

With her back to Mara, Gloria spat, “No, I’m not.” She finished paying the cashier and stamped out the door.

Mara’s throat ached from the large yarn of tears she kept trying to swallow down while getting her hair done. Afterward, she rushed to pay and escaped to the privacy of her Acura SUV. To her surprise, tears of both sadness and fury draped her cheeks. How dare that woman treat me with such disrespect. I apologized, what more did she want?

She opened the visor mirror and dabbed at her face with a tissue before leaving, but she didn’t go home.

Mara arrived at her daughter’s house and rang the bell.

“Mom? What a surprise.” Abby opened the storm door for her mother to enter. “Is everything okay?”

“No. It isn’t.”

“What happened?” Abby guided her mom to a forest green living room chair. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“Not right now. I’m too angry to swallow.” Mara gasped in some air and then told her daughter about the encounter with Gloria.

“Wait, I thought she said she forgave you. Did something else happen?” Abby settled across from her mom on an accent chair.

“I don’t know.” Mara flopped her hands down on the seat cusion. “She’s so touchy about every little thing, who knows what’s got her upset this time.”

“You never told me exactly what you said to her. Didn’t it have to do with Gloria’s son, Drew?”

“Oh, I’m embarrassed now that I know it was inappropriate to say. But…I asked if they thought Drew would stay sober for her daughter, Shelly’s, wedding festivities.”

Abby sucked in a breathe through her teeth. “Oops. I could see why it might be a tender subject, with him in recovery, but to never talk to you again? I mean, you did apologize.”

“Shelly still holds a grudge for what I said when her father died ten years ago.” Mara sighed.

“I didn’t know about that. What did you say?”

“All I said was that I understood their grief, because when I went through a divorce it was like a death.”

Abby jerked her head sideways. “What’s wrong with that? You did grieve in a similar way.”

“The two of them are always getting mad about something. I feel like no matter what I do, it’s wrong. It’s probably better we don’t talk, because who knows what else might set them off?” Mara slumped in resignation.

“I don’t get it. Do they think they’re perfect or something? Now, this puts me in a precarious position.”

“This is my problem, Abby. You don’t have to let it get between you and them.”

“What would they expect? I’d feel very uncomfortable around them after the way they treated you. We were always so close with them. It makes me sad that things have to be this way.” Abby dropped her head, looking forlorn.

“Me too.”


I wrote this (mostly) fictional story and had originally planned to comment on it, but I’d rather read your comments. What do you think about Mara’s story? I’ll let you comment while I contemplate it for a while.



18 thoughts on “It Happened at the Beauty Salon”

  1. I think everyone in this situation is being immature and not managing to put themselves in the shoes of the person they might have upset. If they all sat down and expressed their feelings in a grown up manner then they could probably move past it but they are all behaving like children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t disagree with you here. You would think adults would want to handle such a situation better. Thanks for your input, Abbi.


  2. Here is what I think:
    Having a son in recovery is tough enough without anyone’s thought on the matter if it is not their son. Mara stepped over the line, particularly Knowing that Gloria was a sensitive soul. The son is trying; the family is struggling, hoping this time he will be ok.

    A divorce is similar to a death but certainly not the same. The person who died is gone forever.
    The divorced person lives on even though not in each other’s universe.

    Having been a substance counselor, I have dealt with similar situations and it is not easy to recover.

    Having been divorced twice and having had a son to die, I now know there is a huge difference.

    Just what I think. You are the author and can have your characters act any way you wish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Linda. I see your point. Do you think Gloria’s reaction was healthy and justified after Mara had already apologized? For cousins who were always close, do you think either of them will regret it when one of them dies and they still weren’t talking?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I cannot tell you if it were healthy or justified, Generalizations are all I could offer. A grudge is a negative thought, in a sense. Therefore, negative people can bring one down, so it is best to move to a happier place. But if you are close and have apologized, I would simply approach her and ask if there were anything else I could do to remedy the situation without writing her off. You have no way to know what she is really thinking without asking.
        Not a popular view, I see, here. Still my opinion. Neither would want to die without the issue being resolved. You may have to come back if you do not work it out in this lifetime.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynette. I made a mistake and left something out to make the story more clear. I fixed it before you read it, so thanks for letting me know what you thought of the piece.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have an answer or suggestion because families are so different I’m also Italian so I ‘get it’ even more!
    …but maybe if you wrote this out as a truly fictional piece, the characters might ‘tell’ you how they would know how that happens as you’re an author already.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, about grudge holders, Jill. Sometimes it’s more difficult to move on when it’s a family member. Why couldn’t Gloria just say ‘hello’?” I mean, that would be the the end game for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Family or not, Gloria is trying to control Mara. Mara shouldn’t allow Gloria to have that kind of power over her. I’m speaking from my own experience, it will suck her energy and keep her distracted from what’s really important.

        Liked by 1 person

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