Springtime in the Mountains Again

April 5, 2013 § 1 Comment

It is actually going to be Spring. I had my doubts, but damned if that’s not a cherry tree in full blossom right down the street.  This dark and dreary cold has gone on long enough. This means maintenance. For me, that means eyebrows, skin, and toes.

Leigh Ann, who should have followed in the family tradition and been a beautician, sets me up with a facial. It is my first ever. Dear God, what was I waiting for? I slip, half naked, under a soft blanket on a warmed bed that looks almost like the horrible dentist’s chair, tilted back at the head, but is of no relation whatsoever. Carrie scrubs and massages and smooths my skin until I think it could be perfect. I have forgotten both the wrinkles and the zits, which I will remember later, but for now, with my eyes closed, I have perfect, twenty-year-old skin. I have forgotten every unbeautiful thing in the world. At least I smell delicious because everything Carrie puts on me is made of exotic fruit. I want to stay in this place forever and she doesn’t rush me out of the fantasy when the facial is done. She slips out of the room quietly and lets me come to terms with reality on my own. This is so opposite of my life, where I am ripped out of bed each morning before six by the radio, and the house starts to swirl into motion around me.

Next, I decide I need to get my eyebrows waxed. They look, as my mom would say, like John L. Lewis. He was the president of the United Mine Workers from 1920-1960, and my mom never told me about his long record of union organizing and politicking, just the eyebrows. They did seem to have a life of their own.  Mine do too, and I leave the job of taming them to Thuy. This is our only relationship. I ask about her family, she asks about mine as I lie on another table, not warmed, but still not the dentist’s. She spreads warm wax on my brow bone and rips it off so quickly, I almost miss the brief moment of pain. I leave John L. Lewis on the chair and emerge looking alert, but thank God and Thuy, not perpetually surprised.

Leigh Ann calls me early in the week. What do you want to do for her birthday? she says. It would be my mom’s 69th birthday, and we usually celebrate significant days in her life with wine and food, which is fitting and ironic at the same time. This year, though, we decide on a pedicure. I choose a shade she would wear, coral to orange, with a shimmer—“Dress to Empress.” Leigh Ann chooses “You Only Live Twice.” We find that fitting, too. It is a deep burgundy with a shot of gold shimmer. It looks like ruby slippers, Leigh Ann says. She could click her toes together and be home, which for her is still in Lexington, but for me is right here. I can remove layers of skin and unwanted hairs, but I am relieved and amused that no matter how much I want spring to strip everything away and grow me a brand new life, I’ll always carry everything with me. I have a touch of John L. Lewis, and beauty tips, and everything else that was poured into me. I’d look stunned without it.



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